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HELB launches loan fund for Health students

20 August 2013, 15:10

The Higher Education Loans board (HELB) in collaboration with USAID (FUNZO Kenya project) and the Kenya Health Care Federation has rolled out a programme - The Afya Elimu fund - that will help curb the shortage of health workers and paramedics in the country.

In a media briefing on Monday, HELB CEO Charles Ringera said that the fund will provide financial assistance to support pre-service training for students studying medical courses particularly Nursing, Clinical Medicine, Laboratory Services, Nutrition and Health Records Information Technology.

He said that the board will administer it as an affordable loan product which will benefit over 2 500 college students during the first year and a further 1 500 students every year.

He said that the fund was geared towards responding to loopholes in capacity development of the health workforce in the country and to increase the pool of experts in different health sectors through in-service training for long term advanced degrees to medical students.

“This fund will cater for tuition money for students joining medical institutions or those studying medical courses. However, the students are expected to pay back the loan at an affordable interest of 4 percent per month once they graduate and are employed,” He noted.

The CEO said that this is to ensure that the fund is revolvable for the benefit of other students after the first group graduates.

According to Ringera, they expect the loan payments to be completed in a period of 5 to 10 years depending on the loan given to each student.

He said that this will increase efficient delivery of health services, which has been below the average mark due to shortage of qualified health personnel in the country.

“The graduands will greatly assist the doctors we have in efficient health service delivery especially from under served and severely affected areas of the country,” He added.

The Kenya private sector CEO Vimal Shah said that the fund will help reduce the tuition burden to many students and called on more partners to join in the initiative to strengthen the financial base for the Afya Elimu fund through the affordable loan program.

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