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Health Ministry to post 552 interns amid protests

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has announced that the Ministry will immediately post at least 552 medical interns as discussions continue within the government to secure additional resources.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the CS said that the Ministry plans to utilize funds allocated in the current financial year to gradually deploy interns.

“The court case notwithstanding, the parties agreed to continue pursuing a consensus position within 60 days that ended on Sunday 7th July 2024, as a means of unlocking the stalemate out of court,” stated Nakhumicha

“So far numerous meetings have been held with good progress made towards achieving consensus. Of note is that both parties agree on the need for the interns to be posted without further delay,” she added.

The CS also noted that the ministry is exploring several options, including deploying all medical interns at the recommended SRC stipend rate of Ksh70,000 per month, waiting for the court’s decision on September 26, and deploying interns in batches using funds allocated in the 2024/2025 financial year budget as per the CBA rates.

Nakhumicha noted that the recent 56-day doctors’ strike concluded with a Return-to-Work Formula agreement, which included proposals to resolve the impasse on deployment of 1,210 medical interns.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union (KMPDU) had demanded a monthly salary of Ksh206,400 for interns, which the CS now deems unfeasible due to the withdrawal of the Finance Bill 2024.

“As of today, there are a total of 3,760 interns awaiting deployment across various cadres, with a total budget of Ksh4.8 billion. Due to budget constraints, the Ministry received an allocation of Ksh3.7 billion for internships in the 2024/2025 financial year,” Nakhumicha explained.

Since January 2023, the Ministry has deployed 4,156 interns across six cadres, including 1,735 doctors (1,214 medical officers), 496 pharmacists, and 25 dentists, at a monthly rate of Ksh206,400.

Others include 874 nurses, 506 degree clinical officers, and 1,930 diploma clinical officers.