Health CS Mutahi Kagwe.

The Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) is set to begin offering English lessons to nurses, a move aimed at improving communication of its students, as the learners scout for lucrative jobs abroad.

The training will also enable the nurses to meet the terms of a recently signed bilateral agreement between Kenya and the United Kingdom.

“I am happy to officiate this historic event. It is the first time the government is doing this just to prepare our workers to be internationally able and prepared and recognized,” Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said.

“We are not saying there are no nurses in the UK from Kenya but we are formalizing the process… Kenyans will travel as expatriates not as refugees.”

Nursing board of Kenya chairperson Dr Eunice Ndirangu said: “This marks a great milestone between Kenyan government and the UK. The launch of this center is critical in making our nurses competitive internationally.”

“We urge nurses as they go abroad to fly the flag high and continue improving on professionalism.”

Other countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, have already made requests for Kenyan health workers, according to the CS, but Kenya will only send those who have not yet been absorbed into the local labor market.

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“We are not sending them to the UK at the expense of our country… we are hiring nurses and health workers according to our ability,” the CS said.

Kenyan nurses will have access to opportunities in the UK health sector, according to Deputy British High Commissioner Josephine Gould, and the training will also help the country achieve the Universal Health Care Goals.

“Kenya and the UK program will enable Kenya to achieve the UHC goals. The UK high commission in Nairobi is ready to work with the ministry of health to make this program smooth,” Ms Josephine Gould said during the launch.

“It will allow Kenyan nurses access opportunities in the UK. It is also about increasing the quality of nursing in Kenyan market,” she added.

The ministry of health and the UK government signed a Memorandum of Understanding in July 2021 that will see Kenya’s health workforce recruited to UK hospitals.

Under the agreement, Kenyan health workers will be absorbed into the National Health Service, the publicly funded British healthcare system.

During the first phase of Kenyan nurses’ deployment to the UK last year, only a dozen learners passed English test.

“Out of 300 health workers sent for an English language test only 10 passed. We had negotiated for clinical workers for job exports but this turn of events is unfortunate,” CS Kagwe said in October last year.

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