Clinical Officers: The Heart of Kenyan Healthcare


  • Akello Akinyi
  • Joseph Choge


Kenya, Clinical Officers


The birth of Clinical Officers (CO) began in 1928 when Kenya, then occupied by the British, decided to train a select group of natives to practice medicine and provide care to the local population. Without official Kenyan doctors present inside its own borders, the goal was to fill the gaps in provision of healthcare to the constituents of the country. After acquiring independence from Great Britain in 1963, medical training in Kenya adopted a four-year medical school system recognized by the United States over the previously promoted six-year model in the United Kingdom. Funding arose from the African American Students Foundation (AASF) and was further supported by the Kennedy Airlift which led to hundreds of young Kenyan students getting scholarships to study in American institutions. Upon their return, Kenyan students joined the civil service helping support the newly independent country.

Author Biographies

Akello Akinyi

A registered Clinical Officer (CO) in the department of Pediatrics at A.I.C. Kijabe Mission Hospital since 2017, Akello Deborah Akinyi is currently in active pursuit of her higher diploma in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. In tandem with her educational goals, Ms. Akinyi works as a clinical research specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital focusing on methods to increase optimal outcomes and improve critical care management protocol for the division. 

Joseph Choge

After completing the three years of Diploma in Clinical Medicine training and a further year of internship, Joseph K. Choge then pursued a higher Diploma in Clinical Medicine (thus specializing in paediatrics). After practicing in this specialty for some years, he then did an Undergraduate Degree in Biological Sciences, a Master’s and a PhD Degree in Parasitology. He then started his career as a University Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and has gradually risen to become the Head of the Department (Chair) of Clinical Medicine at the University of Kabianga, Kenya. He is also an external examiner in Moi, Jomo Kenyatta and Masinde Muliro Universities, respectively. He has served in various leadership positions within the Clinical Medicine Fraternity in Kenya. Initially, he served and gradually rose through the ranks to become the National Assistant Secretary - General of the Kenya Clinical Officers Association (KCOA), later joined the Clinical Officers Council (COC) and is currently serving as the Chairman of the Clinical Officers Council. He has participated in various research and has also co-authored some academic books




How to Cite

Akinyi, A., & Choge, J. (2021). Clinical Officers: The Heart of Kenyan Healthcare. Social Innovations Journal, 8. Retrieved from