Current professional data indicate that there is a severe shortage of Public Health Officers and Technicians at all levels of service delivery in the country, Simon K. Kimani, Chairman- Public Health Officers and Technicians Council has said.
Speaking at MKU main Campus in Thika during the accreditation of the University to offer Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Health, the chairman said currently the country has 4000 registered public health officers against a population of approximately 45 million citizens, which means one officer is responsible for health and safety of eleven thousand two hundred and fifty (11250) citizens.
He said this is an enormous task and hence the challenges the country is experiencing in monitoring public health delivery services. Records available at the PHOTC indicate acute shortage of a minimum of about 4,000 Public Health Officers and Technicians are urgently required to address the emerging Environmental Health challenges across the Country. This constitutes about 40 Public Health Officers and 46 Public Health Technicians per County to address the current disease burden arising from preventable causes.
He said there is urgent need of PHOs and PHTs at the community level demands for a more concerted effort by the National Government, County Governments, the private sector and other players to accelerate the employment of public Health Officers and Technicians in order to provide community public health services through the promotion of good hygiene and sanitation practices, improved solid waste management, enhanced food safety surveillances and prevention of work-place injury.
“In addition, however, the increase in health workforce volume alone, Ladies and gentlemen, cannot guarantee value in health service delivery. This requires improved quality of professional training to produce competent skilled health workforce in adequate numbers and professionalism in service delivery as well adequate budgetary support to reduce the disease burden from preventable causes,” said the council boss.
The accreditation of Public/Environmental Health programme in Mount Kenya University will therefore add to the skilled and competent workforce based at the community level to support the delivery of Universal Health coverage agenda and contribute to the highest attainable standards of health as guaranteed in our constitution.
He said it is his hope that the University will continue to improve standards of training in this approved Main campus but will also initiate the process of accreditation in all the campuses across the Country that offer programmes in Public/Environmental Health.
“In conclusion, we hope that the University will continue to be open to continuous support supervision to help meet the ever-increasing need for improvement of training standards for health professionals in Kenya. This may call for planned and impromptu visits, sharing of data and collaboration on all areas of training,” said Kimani.
MKU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stanley Waudo said that now the university will focus on laying out strategies focusing on seeing to it that graduates who will come out of the University will be able to pursue Masters and PhDs in Environmental Health Program. He said in future the Program will be rolled out to other MKU campuses in and outside the country.