London — Unemployed Kenyan nurses and health workers will have a chance to work in the UK under a new scheme launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday on the third day of his visit to London.
The programme came at the request of the government to channel nurses currently unemployed into jobs, and was signed by UK's Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Kenya's Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui.
Under the programme to share knowledge and expertise, Kenyan health professionals and health managers will benefit from a special route to work in the UK, before returning to work in Kenya's health sector.
A statement from the British High Commission in Nairobi said the exact number of those who will go to the UK and the process for visas will be confirmed within a period of three months.
"Our health partnership with Kenya is 30 years old and growing stronger by the month. This new agreement on health workers allows us to share skills and expertise even further, and it is a fantastic opportunity for Kenyans to work in the UK," stated Jane Mariott, the British High Commissioner to Kenya.
On his part the UK's Health Secretary said the new agreement will be beneficial to both countries "with the exchange of knowledge and training which will provide first class healthcare,"
The British High Commission confirmed that already there are 894 Kenyans working in the National Health Service (NHS) in England, making Kenyans the 30th largest nationality group in the NHS.
The President also witnessed the signing of the Kenya-UK Health Alliance, which will bring together UK and Kenyan institutions including universities and teaching hospitals cooperating on health partnerships.
One of the flagship partnerships is on improving cancer treatment for Kenyans following a tie-up between Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital and the University of Manchester/Christies NHS Foundation Trust.
This is aimed at helping improve prevention and management of cancer in Kenya, and promote Kenya as a regional hub for cancer treatment.
The UK has also supported Kenya's COVID-19 response, including donating vaccines and genome sequencing in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), to tackle emerging COVID-19 variants.