CS Nakhumicha replaces KMTC board as students placement row rages

Health CS Susan Nakhumicha when she appeared before the National Assembly departmental committee on Health on August 10, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has revoked the appointment of Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) board members and gazzetted a new team.

In a gazette notice dated August 18, 2023, the CS said the appointments of Naomi Kathure Mutua, Stephen Ochiel, Jennifer Bosibori Kibagendi and Fredrick Wamwaki are revoked.

And in place, Nakhumicha appointed Paul Kaino Cheboi, Eunice Wangui Karanja, Hardlyne Lusui, Joseph Ouma Atonga, to be members of the board for a period of three years, with effect from August 18, 2023.

Josea Kiplangat Cheruiyot is the new board chairman, replacing Zachary Muburi Muita.

The changes come days after members of the Health Committee in the National Assembly convened a meeting and directed KMTC to take back the placement and admissions of students to the institutions.

Insiders however told The Standard that the decision to allow Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) to place students to KMTC colleges was a personal intervention of President William Ruto to ensure fairness prevailed in the admission process.

"The president was keen to ensure equity, fairness and balanced access to the training opportunities during placement of students to all KMTC colleges," said a source privy to the intrigues on students' placement.

The decision to move the process to KUCCPS ended the decades old fight on the placement and admission role between the two government agencies.

Making the announcement in July, KUCCPS chief executive Dr Mercy Wahome said: "This is a milestone because KMTC and KUCCPS have a common objective of enhancing access to quality higher education and training opportunities in a manner that is equitable to all Kenyans."

She listed the programmes offered at diploma and certificate levels, including community health nursing, mental health and psychiatry, midwifery, radiography and imaging, medical laboratory sciences, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physiotherapy and public health, among others.

And on July 22, 2023 KUCCPS opened the portal for students to apply to various KMTC colleges.

In a statement to newsrooms, Dr Wahome said the application targeted students who completed the KCSE examination from the year 2013 to 2022.

She said there are 30 KMTC programmes available for application. And the deadline for applications was August 4, 2023.

However, a few days after the application deadline lapsed, MPs summoned the ministry and KUCCPS staff on August 10 over the placement process.

On August 10, MPs summoned senior Ministry of Education officials and KUCCPS management to deliberate on the students' placement to the KMTC institutions.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu was represented in the meeting by KUCCPS chief executive, Dr Wahome.

In the meeting, the MPs directed that the placement of students that was already being conducted by the KUCCPS be suspended.

They also directed that KMTC directly advertises and places students to various institutions across the country.

Nakhumicah on Saturday told The Standard that the decision by MPs was cancelled.

"The decision by (National Assembly) Health Committee was rescinded," she said.

Insiders say the decision to reorganise the board was taken after it emerged that some members were sabotaging the placement process.

"After higher powers make certain strategic decisions for the betterment of Kenyans and someone is seen to pull in different direction it can be unfortunate," said an insider.