Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) has received surgical masks for use by final year students during clinical practice.
The 500,000 masks were a donation from the Kenya Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund Board in partnership with the Equity Group Foundation.
KMTC has 8,292 final year students who are currently undertaking their clinical practice in various health facilities across the country, ahead of their graduation this year.
The clinical practice involves actual medical services to patients thus the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is high.
Presiding over the handover ceremony held at the KMTC headquarters on February 9, 2021, Secretary to the Kenya Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund Board Kennedy Kihara said the masks will go along away in protecting frontline health workers against the Coronavirus as they serve in the various medical facilities across the country.
“Health care workers are our soldiers, and we have to equip them with protective gear so that they are not exposed to the virus” he said. “We will keep replenishing the face masks to ensure our students are safeguarded as they complete their training and thereafter join the health sector to bridge the human resource for health gaps not only in the country but also internationally.
He acknowledged the College’s contribution towards the management of COVID-19 by providing its facilities for use as quarantine and isolation facilities.
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Equity Group Board Chair and Chair of the Health Technical Committee, Prof. Isaac Macharia commended the College’s key role in supporting the Government achieve Universal Health Coverage by training skilled healthcare workers.
“KMTC is a major cog in the wheels of healthcare service delivery in the country, therefore the masks will complement its mandate of producing competent workforce for the health sector” he said.
He added that the collaboration will extend beyond COVID-19 and affirmed that KMTC students are welcome to use the Equity Afia Clinics as their training and incubation centres during clinical practice and when they complete their training.
Representing the KMTC Board Chairperson, Board Director Dr. Martin Sirengo said the COVID-19 epidemic has presented unique challenges whose negative effects can only be mitigated by collective effort.
He therefore thanked the Equity Group and the COVID-19 Fund Board for the donation “which will benefit over 8,000 final year students, who will upon their graduation undoubtedly propel the country towards the attainment of specific health-related targets, including management of emerging and re-emerging diseases”.
On the other hand, Equity Group Chief Commercial Officer Polycarp Igathe said, Equity is ready to collaborate with KMTC to enhance healthcare service delivery, provide solutions and response to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Equity Group is determined to offer solutions to frontline healthcare workers who are the only clear, strongest, leverage and intervention in tackling the COVID-19”, he said.
He commended the College’s extensive geographical distribution of 71 campuses across 43 out of the 47 counties in the country, thus representing the largest population of healthcare workers in the country. “KMTC is right on top in offering in-depth skilled training in the medical profession” he added.
KMTC CEO, Prof. Michael Kiptoo, said the donation of masks is timely, coming at a time when the Government had up-scaled efforts to protect medics, who are in the frontline in the fight against COVID-19. “The beneficiary Students are part and parcel of the medical personnel providing essential service in our health facilities”, he noted.
KMTC Deputy Director in charge of Finance, Planning and Administration Dr. Kelly Oluoch said since the onset of COVID-19 in the county, the College has been instrumental in supporting Government in the fight against the epidemic.
The College availed its 44 Campuses with a bed capacity of 3,397, which hosted 5,077 clients in quarantine and isolation, for a cumulative 55,754 days.
“As part of efforts of giving back to society, KMTC conducted health education and promotion, donated hand washing facilities and provided mental health and psycho-social support, to mitigate against the effects of Coronavirus.
He welcomed the donation saying the surgical masks will make the students feel safe and protected as they serve and interact with patients in health facilities.
Speaking on behalf of students, Asher Otiende, who is studying Clinical Medicine and Surgery in KMTC Nairobi said some students come from needy backgrounds and are financially challenged so they cannot afford protective gear including surgical masks.
“The surgical masks issued today will help us finish our clinical exams well and offer much-needed protection as we execute our duties” he added.
The College will constitute an Institutional Liaison Committee mandated to receive and monitor distribution, proper usage as well as re-order PPEs to ensure the supply is consistently replenished for use by the Students.
As a strategic partner under the Ministry of Health, the College continues to partner with like-minded institutions to manage COVID-19, by availing requisite infrastructure and personnel.