Health CS Susan Nakhumicha appeared before the National Assembly's Health Committee at the Parliament buildings, Nairobi on February 22, 2024. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Ministry of Health now says it needs Sh4.9 billion to be able to implement its annual internship programme.

While appearing before the National Assembly's Health Committee to brief members on its 2024 budget policy statement on medical services, Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha the amount would facilitate the posting of the pending 3,580 interns.

Nakhumicha said the amount would cover one year of internship salaries for all the 3,580 January graduates at the current monthly rate of Sh206,000 mandated by the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement for medical interns.

“Somehow the interns and the unions managed to put internship in the CBA which they reinforced themselves a salary of Sh206,000 per month,” she said

The CS requested the budget-making committee to give her ministry the money, saying it would be a challenge for the ministry to place the cohort on an internship without the said money.

According to her, the ministry may revise internship policies to transition graduates from university studies immediately into year-long hospital training, preventing gaps between graduation and intern job assignments.

“We are revising the policy so that the graduates are placed on an internship in their final year to avoid scenarios where they complete studies and have to wait for internship opportunities,” she said.

In a bid to moderate the intern’s earnings, Nakhumicha said her ministry has made proposals that will see the interns earn in the same range as other interns across the country.

“The public health committee will speak on it as we are fast-tracking that policy and make sure that the internship centers are adequately equipped and have tutors,” she said

Her sentiments come just a day after the medical graduates protested over what they termed as delayed posting.

This saw the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) threaten a 3-day nationwide doctor strike starting March 1 if the graduate placements remain unresolved.