The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Over 4,000 Contracted Nurses to Be Employed On Permanent Basis

More than 4,000 nurses employed on contract by the government under the Economic Stimulus Program will now be permanently employed.

Chief nursing officer Chris Rakuom said the government will absorb the 4,000 nurses whose contracts are almost expiring. Speaking at the closing of the Annual Scientific Conference of Nurses in Eldoret yesterday, Rakuom said the shortage of 80,000 nurses in the country is to blame for the low quality of medical services in most hospitals.

"The government will take them on board because currently all hospitals are facing an acute shortage of nurses. We need even more to fill existing vacancies," said Rakuom.

"We have to ensure that Kenyans get quality medical care because its now a requirement in the constitution." Thaddeus Mayaka, the national chairman of the Kenya Progressive Nurses Association, said the government should improve the terms of service for the nurses.

Mayaka said this will motivate them to deliver better services. "The nurses should be paid non-practicing allowances because most of them are committed to serve the public and do not operate clinics," Mayaka said.

Several hospitals, including the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, have been affected by the shortage of nurses. MTRH recently hired 100 nurses to help it improve the delivery of medical care.

Public Health assistant minister James Gesami had last week in Keiyo said the shortage nurses and doctors has affected provision health care. Gesam said the shortage may make the country not to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Gesami said the government has put up more than 201 primary healthcare facilities under the Economic Stimulus Programme. He said the facilities lack necessary equipment and staff to serve Kenyans effectively.

Nurses from all parts of the country attended the conference in Eldoret. Eldoret West DC Christopher Wanjau asked the nurses to support other community services including peace programmes. Wanjau said nurses can educate Kenyans on the need for peace as country heads to the general elections.

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