- Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina told senators that other structures meant for classes were converted into office buildings.
- In her submission, KUTRRH chair Prof Olive Mugenda claimed they have no problem with KU medical students accessing the hospital.
Kenyatta University Hospital converted a laboratory for training medical students into a mortuary in its bid to stop them from training there, the university said on Monday.
Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina told senators that other structures meant for classes were converted into office buildings.
Prof Wainaina met the Senate Committee on Health chaired by Jackson Mandago at the university before the senators toured the nearby hospital.
“What is now the mortuary is actually what was supposed to be a laboratory. And that is the only lab we can use for actually teaching my students,” he said.
“So our prayer is, can we start using those facilities? Can our members of teaching staff be able to use that facility? That is the early prayer.”
Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) opened doors to patients in October 2019, months after it became a parastatal.
It was established as a teaching hospital on 100 acres owned by Kenyatta University, but does not allow students from the university to train there.
Prof Wainaina told senators the hospital should not have been a separate entity but should be under the university.
“Their facility, as I said, is state-of-the-art. But the purpose was to make sure that medical education is elevated to another level by having innovations, by making sure that the students are using the proper labs,” he said.
Prof Wainaina said the current operation theatres are purposely built for demonstration for students.
He said students from KU medical school are currently not well-grounded in surgery because of a lack of facilities.
In her submission, KUTRRH chair Prof Olive Mugenda claimed they have no problem with KU medical students accessing the hospital.
“We never chased away KU university students. The university itself stopped postgraduate students from coming here. I wrote to get permission for the students to come to the facility and I am still waiting for a response,” Mugenda said.
The day-visit came after the university administration and students petitioned the Senate. The administration is keen to have it manage the multi-billion shilling hospital, while the students are interested in accessing it for studies.
Jafar Muhsin Kasaya, a fifth year medical student who signed the petition by students, said they travel daily 40 kilometres away to Kiambu County Hospital for studies.
“Do we want a system that churns out half-baked doctors? The University of Nairobi has KNH. Moi University has MTRH. Why can't Kenyatta University have KUTRRH is it more than meets the eye?” he posed.
The students also asked the Senate to recommend that Legal Notice No.4 of 2019, which recognises KUTRRH as a stand-alone parastatal be revoked.
“Even though the facility is fully functional, lecturers and medical students from Kenyatta University have been denied access by the hospital management for teaching and learning,” the students claimed in the petition.
Last week, Health CS Susan Nakhumicha told the Standing Committee on Health on Friday that a primary accreditation report indicated that there will be a limit on the number of students the hospital can accommodate.
This was after a team from the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council led by the CEO David Kariuki inspected KUTRRH to assess its preparedness to receive KU medical trainees.
Inspection is a pre-condition for any hospital to receive approval from the council to accept students.
Nakhumicha said the hospital's readiness to accommodate students will largely depend on the accreditation report and confirmed that a preliminary report is already available.
“Based on its findings, the hospital is expected to initiate student training as planned within the stipulated three months,” she said.
“However, the report might indicate some limitations regarding the initial number of students the hospital can accommodate, taking into account factors like bed capacity and logistical considerations,” she added.