Kenya: Health Workers to Reap From Kenya-UK Pacts

Kenyan healthcare workers will be allowed to work in the United Kingdom, after the two countries signed two key agreements in the health sector.

The agreements were signed on the third day of President Uhuru Kenyatta's official visit to the UK.

The first pact, signed by Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui and UK's Secretary of State for Health Sajid Javid, is a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Health Workforce Collaboration.

The second agreement, also an MoU, is on the launch of the UK-Kenya Health Alliance, and was signed by University of Manchester's vice-president, Prof Graham Lord, Dr Richard Cowan of Christie hospital, John Wareing of the University of Manchester Foundation Trust and Kenya's High Commissioner to the UK, Mr Manoah Esipisu.

The agreement on health workforce collaboration provides for capacity building and exchange of health workers between Kenya and the UK, while the health alliance is a collaborative platform for healthcare providers.

Speaking at the Royal College of Physicians in London where the agreements were signed, President Kenyatta expressed optimism that the two pacts will deepen the Kenya-UK partnership in healthcare provision.

"These two new MoU's will create a platform for health workers exchange and capacity building of healthcare professionals not only in Kenya but also across our region. But more importantly, it will also strengthen the management of cancer and therefore be able to provide our people with the kind of healthcare that they deserve," President Kenyatta said.

Noting that Kenya and UK enjoy a solid and effective research cooperation since the early 1980s, through various programmes among them a partnership between the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri), Welcome Trust and UK Aid, President Kenyatta said the collaboration has contributed immensely to the advancement of medical research in Kenya.

"I applaud UK for its partnership with Kenya in Covid-19 research, a groundbreaking exercise that saw Kemri undertake sero-surveillance, transmission modelling and testing for the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine," he said, adding, "This work will help us as a country to model our health systems capacity and determine how best to enhance the capacity of the systems to manage Covid-19 cases."

Mr Javid said the signing of the MOU on health workforce collaboration will go a long way in supporting Kenya's efforts towards achieving universal health coverage.

"My university and Christie hospital will establish two scholarships named after Kenya's founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to help support Kenyans in the medical field at the university," said Prof Lord.

As part of its broad objectives, the UK-Kenya Health Alliance seeks to improve cancer care in Kenya and development of a centre of excellence for cancer research at the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital.

Further, the alliance aims at promoting the exchange of health workforce between Kenya and the UK as well as developing a centre of excellence for health education and training at Kisii University in Kenya to serve the whole of East Africa.

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