The Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Health Susan Nakhumicha Wafula revealed that there were interns within the ministry earning more than employed doctors.
Speaking on Wednesday, November 2, the CS revealed that the inconsistencies in paying allowances and health are being addressed as a matter of urgency calling on patience from all stakeholders.
“In one of my looking around within the ministry, I found that Kenya is a country where interns earn more than actual doctors when they are deployed,” she stated.
“For example, a medical intern earns close to Ksh200,000 while a new doctor while reporting in a public hospital earns Ksh104,000. These inconsistencies in there are issues to be addressed,” she added.
Wafula was responding to a question by a concerned trainee who pointed out a memo released by the ministry freezing training for 2022/23 financial year.
The salaries and allowances debate has been a hot potato for the ministry for a long time, most recent being in April when clinical officers on internship protested delayed allowances over a period of seven months.
The CS promised to deal with the ‘acting syndrome’ which she noted as having affected the staff within the ministry during her take-over address.
According to their then-national chairman Enock Bosire, 4,000 interns countrywide had not received their Ksh15,000 monthly stipends since July 2021 and they feared that their one-year contracts could be terminated before payment was made.
The Ministry engaged two cohorts; one whose contracts ran between July 2021 and July 2022 and another between December 2021 and December 2022.
There were also concerns raised in July by Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu revealing that some ministry staff had been paid twice through a manual register leading to extra spending of Ksh4.2 Billion.
The CS however assured that she was working round the clock to ensure that her mandate of making Universal Health Coverage a success is met.
“For some things to be achieved, it means that someone has to give up some section of their pie for success. There is some decision that we will make whose fruits will be seen five to ten years from now. I call for patience,” she stated.
Wafula took over the ministry from Mutahi Kagwe who steered the country through the pandemic period, which he termed the most challenging season for the ministry in recent times.
Her work is already cut out and part of her top assignment will be a clean-up of Afya House, which is perceived as a corruption hotspot.