MEDICAL STUDENTS

Return hospital by September, urge KU petitioners

They made history through the first-ever student petition to be presented before senate and to be considered and endorsed.

In Summary

•The two expressed their joy after making history through the first-ever student petition to be presented before senate and to be considered and endorsed.

•They also welcomed the senate’s proposal for the introduction of level seven University hospitals, with KUTRRH being the first.

Petitioners Jafar Muhsin Kasaya and Thiong’o Muiruri lead supporters to Senate this year. They complained they were waking up as early as 4am daily to travel close to 40 kilometres to Kiambu Level 5 Hospital for their clinical studies.
Petitioners Jafar Muhsin Kasaya and Thiong’o Muiruri lead supporters to Senate this year. They complained they were waking up as early as 4am daily to travel close to 40 kilometres to Kiambu Level 5 Hospital for their clinical studies. 
Image: HANDOUT

Students who successfully petitioned senators to order the return of the Kenyatta University Hospital to the university want this is done before they reopen in September.

The two expressed their joy after making history through the first-ever student petition to be presented before Senate, be considered and endorsed.

Petitioners Jafar Muhsin Kasaya and Thiong’o Muiruri had complained they were waking up as early as 4am daily to travel close to 40 kilometres to Kiambu Level 5 Hospital for their clinical studies. 

They said they dreaded repeating this when the university reopens in September.

“The next three months will be crucial to ensure the Senate recommendations are implemented. We look forward to the cooperation of all parties to ensure the seamless transition and fulfilment of our dreams,” Jafar and Thiong’o said.

“The long journey using a strained university transport system to Kiambu County Level 5 Hospital-which in itself was under resourced, overcrowded-and therefore incapable of providing a stimulating environment for medical studies, will be in the past.”

 The Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) was founded in 2010 as a university teaching hospital but was made a parastatal through a legal notice in 2019.

Medical students from Kenyatta University were then prevented from training at the hospital even though the two institutions are neighbours.

The students petitioned the Senate in 2022 asking to be allowed to train at KUTRRH and that the university manages the hospital as planned when it was built.

A Senate committee chaired by Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago was constituted in October that year to consider the petition. 

It recommended that KUTRRH grant KU medical students and faculty unfettered access to the hospital for learning and required KUTRRH to avail academic block to KU School of Health Sciences for medical education as originally conceived.  

“The reopening of our institution in September has never looked brighter,” the two petitioners, who are students at KU, told the Star.

They also welcomed the Senate’s proposal for the introduction of level 7 university hospitals, with KUTRRH being the first.

The hospital is a parastatal led by a board of nine individuals.

However, the university is only represented by one person, the dean of the medical school.

This is because a legal notice of 2021 removed the university vice chancellor and one university council representative as members of the hospital board.

The senators ordered they should be restored on the hoard.

“Committee recommends that the initial concept of KUTRRH as an education and research facility of KU be safeguarded through the revocation of Legal Notice No 39 of 2021,” said the report signed by Senator Mandago.

 “Further to the above, the committee recommends that the effective date of the revocation of Legal Notice No 39 of 2021 and consequent reconstitution of the board of KUTRRH should fall upon the expiry of the term of the current board.”

The committee recommended that the Senate amend the Health Act, 2017, the Universities Act and the State Corporations Act to allow the creation of level 7 hospitals, being university teaching facilities.

The senators said their report, adopted by the House last month, should be implemented within six months since its adoption. 

The construction of the hospital originated from a memorandum of understanding between Kenyatta University and China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Co-operation on May 28, 2010.

 It said Kenyatta University would set aside approximately 90 acres for the construction of the hospital and related facilities.

It was constructed through a loan from the China Exim Bank.

Treasury justified turning the hospital into a parastatal because it has been paying the loan.

Last year, KU vice chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina told the committee that the goal was to make the university hospital part of the School of Health Sciences, in which medical education and research were prioritised, with quality clinical service provision being a byproduct.

This was as opposed to the current structure of national referral hospitals (level 6), which prioritised clinical service provision over teaching and research, he said.

 The hospital is the premier cancer treatment centre in Kenya.

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