A clinical officer (CO) is a gazetted officer who is qualified and licensed to practice medicine. In Kenya a clinical officer operates under the jurisdiction of the Clinical Officers Council which is responsible for their training, registration and licensing and each officer must (1) study clinical medicine and surgery for three or four years (2) graduate from an approved medical training institution (3) pass a national government licensing examination (4) complete an internship year at a teaching hospital (5) register as a clinical officer (6) apply for a practicing licence (7) complete a three-year period of clinical supervision under a senior clinical officer or a senior medical officer (8) apply for a practising certificate (optional) which allows one to provide general medical services directly to the public under their own name (9) go into training for specialization (optional) and (10) become a trainer. Clinical Officer (CO) is a protected title and its use by unregistered persons is prohibited by law and punishable by up to five years in jail with or without a fine. Globally, the title may not have legal restrictions and can refer to a job grade rather than a medical qualification such as junior assistive clinical staff (e.g. in Zambia and Tanzania), licensed medical professionals (e.g. in Kenya and Malawi) or high-level corporate officers, directors, and managers (e.g. Chief Clinical Officers in Europe and the United States).
A clinical officer observes, interviews and examines sick and healthy individuals in all specialties to determine and document their health status and applies relevant pathological, radiological, psychiatric and community health techniques, procedures and findings needed to classify diseases and related health problems and to establish a provisional or final diagnosis upon which to prescribe, initiate, carry out or terminate treatment or therapy based on their specialized knowledge, skills and experience in clinical pharmacology, use of clinical guidelines, best practices and disease patterns as well as individual patient and community characteristics while being actively pharmacovigilant to prevent, identify, minimize and manage drug reactions, drug errors, side effects and poisoning, overdiagnosis, overscreening, overtreatment and futile care. A clinical officer performs general and specialized medical duties such as diagnosis and treatment of disease and injury, ordering and interpreting medical tests, performing routine medical and surgical procedures, referring patients to other practitioners and managing health departments, institutions, projects and systems. Clinical officers, medical officers and medical practitioners are the only officers who are gazetted and licensed to practice medicine in Kenya. They work under oath and generate credible health data and information within communities and health institutions and cascade the same to the county and national governments, government agencies and third parties through standard recording and reporting tools from the Ministry of Health which are used to capture data on disease outbreaks, physical injuries and deformities, mental illness, drug resistance, disability, nutritional disorders, births and deaths among others.
- To register with the Clinical Officer Council, the applicant has to contact the Clinical Officers Council offices.
- The applicant has to make sure he or she has all the required documents that are required for this process to be successful and they can be found under the “Required Documents” section of this page or in the Clinical Officers Council’s Registration Requirements page.
- Payment of appropriate fees should be made and that can be found under the “Fees” section of this page or in the Clinical Officers Council’s payment details page.
- On completion of this process, the Council will without undue delay, issue to an applicant who satisfies all the conditions required by the regulations, with a Certificate of Registration.
- The Council has the power to refuse to register any person who has not complied with any of the provisions of the regulations, and the decision of the Council is final.
- Degree/Diploma Certificates
- KCSE Certificate
- Internship completion letter
- Internship Booklet/Logbook
- Passport size photo
Office Locations & Contacts
- Clinical Officers Council,
Blue Violet Building, Suite 203, Kindaruma Road Off Ngong Road, Nairobi
P.O. Box 19795 K.N.H.,
Phone No: 0725 705 144
Fax: 020 722618
Anyone who wants to offer services as a clinical officer is entitled to registration if he/she satisfies the Council that he/she:
- (a) has successfully undergone a prescribed course of training at an approved training institution;
- (b) has applied for registration in the prescribed form;
- (c) has paid the prescribed fees for registration; and
- (d) is a fit and proper person to be registered.
Kshs. 7,000 Diploma
Kshs. 7,500 Degree (Registration fee)
Kshs. 2,000 Retention/Practicing Licence fee
Kshs. 500 CPD diary fee
Kshs. 500 Code of Conduct (for those who do not have)
Immediately upon meeting all the requirements
Those who complete internship and seeking COC Registration shall be expected to submit the following documents:
- A letter from the Medical Superintendant or the Clinical Officer In-Charge coordinating internship within the approved period of 12 months
- Submission of dully signed internship booklets by the authorized persons in the hospital without any alterations whatsoever
- All the other documents presented while seeking for internship:
- Original Academic Certificate
- Original School leaving Certificate
- Original diploma results slip/certificate from your respective institution dully signed by the authorized persons
- Original Clinical Officers Council Indexing Identity Card
- Original Clinical Officers Council Examination Results Slip dully signed by the authorized person
A person applying for registration as a clinical officer, who had been training outside Kenya or who has been registered outside Kenya should in addition to the documents required, attach a copy of certificate of good standing and a copy of the registration certificate awarded in the foreign country or similar certificate, and a curriculum vitae.
- Full names
- Place and Date of Birth
- Permanent Address
- Place of Work Address
- Degrees, Diploma, or Licence held (give name of Kenya Medical Training College and date qualified)
- Particulars of experience (e.g. length of service in the public institution, post held, type of practice in which engaged, other country where applicant has practiced); dates must be clearly stated.
- Registration number and date and place of original registration. (where applicable)
- Testimonials from your immediate Supervisor/Employer/Head of Faculty (Training Institution) covering the period of experience should be attached.
Need for the Document
The Clinical Officer Council registers all students trained in approved training institutions and assesses students trained out of the country, as well as nationally trained students. To ensure a standard of quality among new clinical officers, any person who intends to be registered must complete a registration exam.
Information which might help
Those who meet the requirements for registration shall be registered and advised to follow the laid down procedure on how to acquire a practicing license
Those who use shortcuts to acquire COC Registration shall be considered to have committed fraud and Clinical Officers Council Rules and Regulations and any other law shall be applied
It is expected that, to meet the dynamics of health and health care, Clinical Officers shall participate in Continual Professional Development as outlined in the Rules and Regulations of the Council
It is mandatory for all Clinical Officers to observe professional ethics and standards of practice
After being registered as a Clinical Officer, you shall be expected to retain your names in the register as per the Rules and Regulations of the Council.
The Clinical Officers Council was established by an Act of Parliament in 1988 with the mandate to regulate the training, registration and licensing of all Clinical Officers under the Clinical Officers (Training Registration & Licensing) Act Cap 260 Laws of Kenya and became operational in 1989.; COC works to ensure that clinical officers are trained to address Kenyans health needs and deliver high quality health services.
The mandate of COC is to oversee the training, registration and licensing of clinical officers as stipulated in Cap 260. In carrying out its mandate, the Council is responsible for:
- Inspecting institutions intending to mount training of Clinical Officers, and also approves and reviews curricula and competency manuals for Clinical Officers. It also undertakes regular inspection of the training institutions to ensure maintenance of quality.
- Indexing all students trained in approved training institutions before administering a Council examination.
- Registering all Clinical Officers after undergoing internship successfully.
- Issuing a Practicing License to a qualified Clinical Officer to practice both in the public and private sector, and renews the licenses bi-annually taking into consideration Continuing Professional Development points and observation of professional standards and ethics.
Clinical Officers Council
The Clinical Officers (Training, Registration And Licensing) Act (Cap. 260)