For the first time in the history of Kenya’s National Youth Service (NYS), a group of 2,000 servicemen and women will be deployed across the country to support community health as part of their national service program.
Building on the premise that community health services are a key component of primary health care and a critical driver to the realisation of universal health coverage (UHC), the 2,000 young men and women were drawn from across the country received training in various aspects of community health. Through the support of Amref Health Africa’s partner Johnson and Johnson (J&J), 1,395 men and 605 women were trained at the NYS Training Institute in Naivasha, facilitated by a team of 80 Trainers of Trainers drawn from the Ministry of Health at national and county government levels.
Speaking at the passing out parade of 11,730 NYS servicemen and women in Gilgil, Nakuru County on Friday 6 December, H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta thanked the Ministry of Health, Amref Health Africa and other partners who supported the training and provided direction on its sustainability.
“To secure the gains made under this transformative programme on health care, today I direct the Ministries of Health and State Department for Youth, to ensure that once they have served for one year, these NYS Community Health cadets undertake further training at Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), based on their academic qualifications and areas of interest,” directed President Kenyatta.
Also speaking at the passing out parade, Public Service Cabinet Secretary Prof Margaret Kobia thanked Amref Health Africa and Johnson and Johnson for making the NYS Community Health training a reality. The 2,000 recruits will be deployed to support the delivery of community health services through the local NYS structure and under the supervision and mentorship of the Ministry of Health’s Community Health Unit.
The empowerment of this group of servicemen and servicewomen in community health skills will contribute to efforts towards the achievement of UHC, as well as job creation for the youth in line with the current government’s aspirations for Kenyan youth.
On its part, Amref Health Africa will deploy every opportunity available to apply innovative mechanisms to enhance learning for this group such as mobile learning through the integrated mobile learning solution (Leap) that offers continuous training opportunities, peer collaboration and real-time evaluation reports.
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with KMTC and other institutions such as Amref Health Africa will ensure continuous capacity building and supervision of this workforce during their one year of service.
In order to institutionalise this program into the NYS vocational training offering, the development of a harmonised curriculum on community health is currently underway under the leadership of the Ministry of Health