The County Government through the Department of Health and Sanitation, in partnership with UNHCR Kenya and Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), is set to launch a scholarship program, geared towards tackling the long-standing challenge of human resource for health (HRH) shortage in the county.
This noble initiative, funded by the Novdioc Foundation, aims to provide 50 scholarships to aspiring healthcare professionals. Of this scholarship, 70% will be awarded to local residents, while 30% will be for refugees.
The HRH shortage has been a persistent challenge in Turkana County, as it has been difficult to attract and retain healthcare workers. Some healthcare facilities have in the past operated with only one staff member, while other 34 have had to temporarily close.
Upon the completion of the training, the scholarship beneficiaries will be obligated to serve the County Government for five years, further strengthening the local healthcare workforce.
“This innovative collaboration will build local capacity to respond to local challenges of the persistent HRH shortage in the County,” said Dr. Gilchrist Lokoel, the County Chief Officer for Medical Services.
Leading the Kakuma UNHCR team, the Senior Public Health Officer, Dr. John Wagacha Burton, emphasized that the collaboration presents an integrated approach to service delivery and will alleviate the HRH shortage.
He also urged the Department to involve other stakeholders in the initiative. The suggestion, Dr Lokoel, was accepted. CCO agreed to include the County Departments of Education, Public Service, Public Works, and the Strategic Delivery Unit as beneficiaries of the scholarship.
This announcement comes on the heels of UNHCR’s handover of eight health facilities in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kalobeyei Settlement, and the host community to the county government.
The collaboration underscores the mutually beneficial partnership that the Turkana Governor has consistently advocated for.
Lucy Kuria, Head of Quality Assurance at the Kenya Medical Training College, National Office, assured county health stakeholders that KMTC is committed to offering high-quality education and incorporating the initiative into its strategic plan.
Dr. Lokoel also took the opportunity to request a mobile ambulance from KMTC to serve the nomadic population.
Present in the meeting included Nancy Kiyonge (Deputy Director, Administration, and Partnerships), Linet Makazi (KMTC National Office), Sarah Ereng (Deputy Principal Lodwar KMTC) and Moses Nabeyo (Head of Nursing) and UNHCR Kenya representatives – Nnamdi Nnaji, Patrick Ikileng, Jasai Silale and Samuel Lomanat.