•Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who graced the ceremony, said the nurses would help bridge the gap in Kenya.
•This is the third major institution to graduate health workers in the last two months.
At least 22,000 freshly-minted health workers have joined the job market.
The Kenya Medical Training College on Thursday graduated 22,695 students, the highest number in the college’s 96-year history.
“A total of 870 will be awarded with higher diplomas, 12,917 diplomas and 8,908 certificates,” college CEO Dr Kelly Oluoch said.
He was speaking during the ceremony held at the Moi International Sports Stadium in Kasarani.
“These graduates, having undergone comprehensive training, are exceptionally equipped to propel advancements aligned with the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda,” Oluoch said.
Most of the trainees are nurses, the most popular course at KMTC.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who graced the ceremony, said the nurses would help bridge the gap in Kenya.
“All these young professionals bring renewed hope for our nation, the hope of achieving and enhancing the nurse to patient ratio for better health outcomes. Most of the professionals graduating today under various fields will complement the work of the over 100,000 community health promoters,” Gachagua said.
Kenya has only eight nurses per 10,000 population, compared to the World Health Organization’s recommended 25 per 10,000 people.
However, local employment opportunities have dwindled, thanks to stagnant allocations to the counties.
“Being one of the colleges with the largest network of campuses across the country, we look forward to impact research pegged on crucial data that community health promoters are generating as they work at the grassroots,” Gachagua said.
This was KMTC’s 92nd graduation ceremony since the college was founded in 1927.
KMTC chairman Joseah Cheruiyot said the college’s strategic plan for 2023-2028, launched a few weeks ago, heavily focuses on digital transformation and excellence.
“In alignment with this commitment, our focus is on several strategic areas. These include the development and review of digital transformation instruments and systems, the reduction of paper-based processes, embracing emerging technologies, while simultaneously fortifying the ICT infrastructure across our campuses,” he said.
Cheruiyot said plans are at advanced stage to establish centres of excellence, which are cross-functional and will contribute to best practices within a specific academic domain.
This is the third major institution to graduate health workers in the last two months.
Two weeks ago, hundreds of nurses graduated from the Kenyatta National Hospital, and the Nairobi Hospital Cicely McDonell College of Health Science.
Zainab Bangura, the director general of the United Nations Office in Nairobi, was the chief guest at the event at the Nairobi Hospital, where 123, mostly nurses, graduated.
She said nursing specialisation would also help the country achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal number three of ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.
“The acute shortage of nurses makes it difficult for Africa and the rest of the world to achieve sustainable improvement in healthcare services. The biggest challenge for Kenya is the low number of nurses who serve the entire population,” she said.
Next door, the KNH’s School of Nursing graduated 223 students with higher diplomas, certificates and merit awards.
Council of Governors chairperson Anne Waiguru said the output would contribute to the achievement of UHC.
“We reaffirm our commitment to fostering a culture of continuous learning, research excellence, and community empowerment,” she said.
Also present during the ceremony were KNH board chairman Dr Samier Murravej, CEO Dr Evanson Kamuri, fellow board members, senior management and SoN faculty.
Students from the two institutions join a job market characterised with high under-employment of nurses.