The Ministry of Health has announced that it will post 552 medical interns immediately following the picketing outside its headquarters, Afya House.

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha has disclosed that the medics will be posted using the 2024/2025 financial year budget, while the rest of the interns will be posted as and when more funds become available.

“The Ministry recognizes the loss in time and highly recommends the interns across the cadres to report to their internship centres as communicated earlier pending the resolution of the package,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

Further, she emphasized the importance of internships in preparing healthcare professionals for their careers.

She acknowledged the challenges faced by young doctors who have experienced psychological trauma and financial hardship due to the delays.

Additionally, she said that the Ministry is committed to finding practical solutions to resolve the situation following 56 days of industrial unrest.

She revealed that the government and the union signed a Return-to-Work Formula agreement, which marked a significant step towards addressing the challenges.

“The court case notwithstanding, the parties agreed to continue pursuing a consensus position within 60 days that ended on July 7, as a means of unlocking the stalemate out of court.”

“So far numerous meetings have been held with good progress made towards achieving consensus. Of note is that both parties agree on the need for the interns to be posted without further delay. The latest of these meetings which ran through the weekend explored various options.”

Nakhumicha also noted that MoH has been working to manage the increasing backlog of graduates awaiting internship placements.

The demand for internships has outpaced the available financial resources, leading to recurrent industrial action within the health sector over the past decade.

“As of today, the total number of interns awaiting posting across the cadres is 3,760 for a total budget of Kes 4.8 billion. Due to budget ceiling, the Ministry received an allocation of Kes 3.7 billion in the Financial Year 2024/2025 for internship,” she said.

Since January 2023, the CS attested that MoH has successfully posted 4,156 interns across various healthcare cadres, including doctors, pharmacists, dentists, and nurses.

Further, she claimed that the total cost of this posting is estimated at Kes 4.2 billion, with all interns expected to complete their internships by June 2024.