Characterising Kenyan hospitals' suitability for medical officer internship training: a secondary data analysis of a cross-sectional study

BMJ Open. 2022 May 6;12(5):e056426. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-056426.


Objective: To characterise the capacity of Kenya internship hospitals to understand whether they are suitable to provide internship training for medical doctors.

Design: A secondary data analysis of a cross-sectional health facility assessment (Kenya Harmonized Health Facility Assessment (KHFA) 2018).

Setting and population: We analysed 61 out of all 74 Kenyan hospitals that provide internship training for medical doctors.

Outcome measures: Comparing against the minimum requirement outlined in the national guidelines for medical officer interns, we filtered and identified 166 indicators from the KHFA survey questionnaire and grouped them into 12 domains. An overall capacity index was calculated as the mean of 12 domain-specific scores for each facility.

Results: The average overall capacity index is 69% (95% CI 66% to 72%) for all internship training centres. Hospitals have moderate capacity (over 60%) for most of the general domains, although there is huge variation between hospitals and only 29 out of 61 hospitals have five or more specialists assigned, employed, seconded or part-time-as required by the national guideline. Quality and safety score was low across all hospitals with an average score of 40%. As for major specialties, all hospitals have good capacity for surgery and obstetrics-gynaecology, while mental health was poorest in comparison. Level 5 and 6 facilities (provincial and national hospitals) have higher capacity scores in all domains when compared with level 4 hospitals (equivalent to district hospitals).

Conclusion: Major gaps exist in staffing, equipment and service availability of Kenya internship hospitals. Level 4 hospitals (equivalent to district hospitals) are more likely to have a lower capacity index, leading to low quality of care, and should be reviewed and improved to provide appropriate and well-resourced training for interns and to use appropriate resources to avoid improvising.

Keywords: health & safety; medical education & training; organisation of health services; quality in health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Analysis
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Kenya
  • Pregnancy