Health CS Mutahi Kagwe on Monday flagged off the first group of the 19 Kenyan nurses to work in the United Kingdom.
This comes after a bilateral agreement between Kenya and UK signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July last year, which offered unemployed Kenyan health workers an opportunity to work in Britain’s National Health Service.
Last year, Labour CS Simon Chelugui said Kenya would send 20,000 nurses to the UK as it sought to improve the welfare of its migrant workers overseas.
Speaking during a farewell ceremony, Mr Kagwe said that a rigorous process was undertaken to get the final list from 3,329 nurses who applied last year.
Of the 19 that qualified, 13 will be attached to the Oxford University Hospital and will leave the country on June 28.
“Nurses are at the heart of the world’s current health priorities, from fighting non-communicable and infectious diseases to addressing health emergencies and stemming pandemics.
“Usifikirie tu vile unaezasoma upate kazi hapa Kenya. Wewe kuwa global citizen, ufikirie utaenda pahali kazi iko (As you pursue your studies, think about being a global citizen and working in foreign countries with job opportunities),” said Mr Kagwe.
The nurses are deployed on a three-year contract after meeting all the national requirements and will be contracted at the same level as their UK counterparts to enhance the county’s healthcare.
He further noted that the remaining six, whose place of work has not been identified yet, will be traveling to the UK in two weeks’ time. In the pipeline also, are about 80 qualified nurses that will be part of the second cohort.
British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriot said the qualification of the nurses was a testimony of Kenya’s high quality and competence of her health workers, and a milestone in the implementation of the trade agreement between the two countries.
“Today marks a new era of international recruitment of Kenyan nurses to the UK through a government-to-government arrangement. This is a milestone in the implementation of the health workforce collaboration agreement,” said Ms Marriott.