A number of students taking various courses at the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) will miss out on financial support under the Afya Elimu Fund (AEF), as USAID, a key financier, pulls out of it.
USAID on Wednesday handed over the project to the Government, who co-financed the Fund among other partners to thousands of KMTC students.
USAID Deputy Mission Director Heather Schildge challenged the private sector to join the Fund and help support more needy students.
“The programme has already 11, 878 new healthcare workers and currently supports 24,017 students, pursuing a degree in a medical field,” he said.
“The beneficiaries will contribute to the national growth by saving lives, improving the quality of life for Kenyans and boosting the economic environment of youth and women.”
Under the project, medical students received an average loan of Sh40,000 to finance their fee payment and accommodation costs.
“Over the years, the government of Kenya contribution to the Fund through HELB grew tremendously, with the government, in the end, contributing four times more than USAID,” she said.
The Elimu Afya fund has raised $26 million “allowing it, to train three more times students than initially planned.”
Afya Elimu was established in 2013 and launched in 2016, under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative aimed at providing training fees for needy students in medical training.
The Fund focuses on middle-level cadres such as nursing, laboratory technologists, clinical officers among others who form the bulk of the country’s health workforce.
AEF is a revolving fund that provides low-interest loans at 4 per cent to students to meet their tuition fees.
The Fund offers affordable loans to needy students pursuing pre-service medical training at mid-level colleges.
The event was attended by among others HELB Chief Executive Officer Charles Ringera.
Ag Director of Health Dr Patrick Amoth was represented in the event by Dr Kigen Bartilol, from the Ministry of Health.
“Kenya Vision 2030 indicate health care under the social pillar as a key to achieving the vision of a middle-income economy,” Dr Bartilol said.
He noted that the country is still grappling with a shortage of health care workers, which calls for more investment in the sector.