BY AUGUSTINE ODUOR
NAIROBI, KENYA: The Government has set a technical committee to review internships for all students studying medicine, putting to rest rising complaints of discrimination in the medical training sector.
Hundreds of clinical medicine students protested last week over what they termed as ‘biasness’ during internship. Registrar of Clinical Officers Council Micah Kisoo said the Government is keen to have all medical students undertaking mandatory internships get paid.
Clinical medicine students are expected to undertake a three-year course in a recognised institution and additional one-year of compulsory internship. “The current trend is that only doctors and a few nurses get paid during internships. But we also realise that these students render services even as they train; we should cater for them as well,” he said.
Kisoo said the findings of the 10-man technical team are aimed at ending discrimination among students who pursue medical courses from diploma to higher levels. He was addressing medical students in Nairobi from various institutions that offer clinical medicine.
“There is no cause for alarm; we ask students to be patient,” he said, adding that the task force findings will inform a new internship policy that will be “all inclusive and comprehensive”.
He said internship is a legal requirement by the Clinical Officers Council for registration of any practitioner. “The requirement is that all students must undergo training in universities and colleges approved by the council and also undertake internship in recognised hospitals,” said Kisoo.
Kenya Medical Training College, Kenya Methodist University, Mount Kenya University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Kisii University, Egerton University, the Great Lakes University and Uzima University of Kisumu offer clinical medicine courses.
Kisoo said the council has approved the courses offered in the institutions. “We want to assure parents that clinical medicine is one of the best programmes and that they are also undergoing continuous reviews to cater for the growing interests in the competitive profession,” he said.
The students complained that for a long time, they have not benefited from internship pay. Kisoo also revealed that a new scheme of service for clinical officers has been reviewed and is with the Public Service Commission. “We are waiting for PSC’s response, however, the scheme is ready,” he said.