•Diploma COs are paid Sh15,000 every month while on internship, compared to the medical interns who earn close to Sh200,000 every month.
•The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers says it has engaged the Ministry of Health in vain and this week sought help from senators.
At least 1,840 clinical officers will not be licensed to practice at the end of this year because the Ministry of Health failed to send them on mandatory internship claiming it has no money to do so.
The clinicians, who include degree and diploma holders, complain they are being discriminated against because in January the ministry posted close to 900 medical doctors for their 12-month internship, despite saying it had no money.
Diploma COs are paid Sh15,000 every month while on internship, compared to the medical interns who earn close to Sh200,000 every month.
Nurses, clinical officers, medical doctors, pharmacists and dentists must go for a 12-month internship after their studies to be licensed to practise.
The clinical officers should have been posted in December last year.
The Kenya Union of Clinical Officers says it has engaged the Ministry of Health in vain and this week sought help from senators.
KUCO chairman Peterson Wachira said: “The Clinical Officers Council submitted the names of the 1,848 clinical officers to the Ministry of Health last year. It is the ministry who should have posted them to hospitals last December but it has not done so,” he said.
The mandate to post is with the office of Dr Josephine Mburu, the Health Principal Secretary in the State Department for Health Standards and Professional Management.
Dr Mburu did not immediately respond to the Star when contacted on Thursday.
The Clinical Officers (Training, Registration and Licensing) Act provides that a person shall be eligible for registration as a clinical officer only after engaging in medical practice under the supervision of a clinical officer registered by the council for not less than 12 months.
“Delay endangers Kenyans since some interns may be practising without the required license and practising experience,” Wachira said.
In their submission to the Jackson Mandagor-led committee on Wednesday, the clinicians said: “We demand that the relevant stakeholders provide a policy to ensure a seamless transition from learning institutions to internships without delay.”
KUCO secretary general George Gibore said the ministry acts quickly whenever doctors threaten a strike but is lacklustre in supporting clinicians.
Medical doctor interns were posted in January under a directive by Health CS Susan Wafula following meetings with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists and Pharmacists’ Union and the Council of Governors.
Doctors had threatened to withdraw their services if their interns were not posted.
“Of great concern is the fact that we have seen other interns being posted without any communication on when the remaining interns are to be posted,” KUCO secretary general George Gibore said.
Gibore noted that Article 27 of the Constitution and Section 5 of the Employment Act prohibit discrimination on any basis.
It also provides that an employer shall promote equal opportunities in employment and shall ensure that policies and practices of the organisation discourage discrimination.
“We suffer unfair labour practices. Qualified health workers employed as interns by PSC and posted to work in counties are only given a meagre stipend of 15,000,” he said.
The clinicians also demanded the government converts the terms of clinicians employed on contracts under the Universal Health Coverage programme to permanent and pensionable terms.
They were hired in 2020 but the government recently said it plans to extend the employment of UHC staff on a contract basis for another three years.
The unions termed the move as discriminatory, illegal and irregular.
“Subjecting them to contractual undertakings will not only be killing their professional growth but will also be disadvantaging them in terms of cadre competitions with their counterparts already in the service,” Gibore said.