Financing Health Education
The Afya Elimu Fund is a revolving tuition fund for students that are not able to pay the full tuition fees themselves. The loan interest rates of the Afya Elimu Fund are very favorable and stand at 4% per annum for pre-service training and 12% per annum for in-service training.
An adequate, well-trained, managed, and motivated workforce is essential for delivery of quality health care to all. Kenya, however suffers a critical shortage of trained health workers a situation that is a key challenge to the country’s efforts to provide universal health care as provided for by the Constitution. Kenya, alongside eighty three (83) other countries in the world have a health workforce to population ratio below the 23 skilled health professionals per 10, 000 population threshold recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO and GHWA report 2014). Kenya Vision 2030 identifies healthcare under the social pillar as key to achieving the vision of a middle income economy. Growing population and changing disease dynamics however continue to negatively impact delivery of health care services. (The Universal truth: No health without workforce (WHO and GHWA report 2014).). This is compounded by the shortage of qualified health workers in many of Kenya’s health facilities. The Ministry of Health (MOH) Kenya Health Sector Human Resource Strategy (2014-2018) identifies the need to address the staffing gaps and reduce
inequalities in healthcare access as a key objective.
Kenya therefore, needs to increase the production of new health workers in professional cadres by 50%, in order to meet the recommended WHO health worker to patient ratio, and provide quality healthcare as per the Constitution.
Increasing Student Access To Training Fees
Access to training remains a key obstacle to increasing the number of qualified health workers. While limited admission space in training institutions remains a challenge, access to training fees has often stood in the way of qualified students interested in pursuing medical training. Studies show that a medical student requires upto KES122, 500 per academic year for medical training, a figure beyond the reach of many Kenyan families. Further, cases of students failing to take up admission, dropping out midway through training and perennial deferment of studies to look for fees slows down the rate of completion thus reducing the number of new health workers joining the health workforce.
Established in 2013 and launched in 2016, the Afya Elimu Fund (AEF) is 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 countries health workforce. AEF is a revolving fund that provides low interest loans (4%) to students to meet their tuition fees.
AEF is a joint venture by IntraHealth International Inc. through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded FUNZOKenya project, and subsequently Human Resources for Health (HRH) Kenya mechanism. The Ministry of Education through the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), Ministry of Health (MOH) and private sector. The fund has received contributions from the Family Group Foundation, I&M Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and the Rattansi Educational Trust and the list of contributors continues to grow.