NAIROBI — President Uhuru Kenyatta has welcomed a proposed initiative to establish a centre of excellence in health education and training at Kisii University.
The President said the establishment of a centre of excellence in health education will boost the country’s ongoing efforts to deliver quality and affordable healthcare services to Kenyans.
President Kenyatta spoke on Friday evening during a meeting with United Kingdom’s University of Manchester Vice President Prof Graham Lord who paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi.
Prof Lord, who was accompanied by founding partners of the UK-Kenya health alliance (KUKHA) from the University of Manchester, the Christie Hospital and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, briefed President Kenyatta on the progress of the project.
President Kenyatta and Prof Lord also discussed the development of a comprehensive cancer care services network in the country.
“I am very impressed by the personal commitment of your team in this project. I am convinced that taking centres of excellence outside Nairobi will be crucial in helping us achieve our desired goals in the health sector,” President Kenyatta said.
The President’s meeting with the team led by Prof Lord follows a similar meeting held on the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland in November last year.
The Head of State said he will engage other stakeholders to help accelerate the initiative which will also go a long way in creating jobs for Kenyan youth.
“This initiative will not only help us reduce the disease burden but also enable us create opportunities for our youth,” President Kenyatta said.
Expressing optimism that the project will enhance delivery of health services in the East African region at large,” President Kenyatta said his administration is working to align legislations and resources to accelerate its implementation.
The team, which was accompanied by Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache, also informed the President of a Memorandum of Understanding that will pave the way for the establishment of the East African centre of excellence in health education and training at Kisii University.
The centre of excellence, which will be a regional hub for healthcare research, innovation and training of advanced-level medical personnel, is a joint project that also involves Egerton University, Maseno University and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.
Kisii University has set aside 70 acres of land to accommodate a 1,000-bed hospital, a comprehensive research centre, laboratories and schools of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, biomedical sciences and nursing as part of the project.
Partner universities will collaborate to promote specialist health care and research in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), Malaria, HIV and AIDS, sickle cell disease, mental health and substance abuse as well as other diseases.
“Our aim is to improve the standard of healthcare in Kenya through research, workforce training and education of health professionals. The work will initially focus on improving cancer outcomes through early detection, rapid diagnosis and the delivery of high-quality care,” said Prof Lord.
The team noted that significant progress has been made in cancer diagnosis and treatment at Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Research Hospital (KUTRRH).
The partnership will also see the establishment of a regional cancer training and research hub which will be managed through KUTRRH. Already a 2.8 million pounds sterling grant from the UK National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) has been secured for this purpose.
State House Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of Policy and Strategy Ruth Kagia, Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital chairperson Prof Olive Mugenda, and Kisii University Vice-Chancellor Prof John Akama also attended the meeting.