KU medical students to access institution's hospital for training, research after stalemate

Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral, and Research Hospital (KUTRRH). [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Medical students at Kenyatta University will now have access to the institution's referral hospital for their training and research, according to Health CS Susan Nakhumicha.

The management of KU and that of Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral, and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) have been fighting over the control of the health facility which saw the students caught in between with reports they had been denied access to it.

On Wednesday, Ms Nakhumicha announced that they had adopted a recommendation by the Public Investment Committee on Governance and Education that the students should be allowed access to the hospital for their training.

This now means the students will use the facility for internship, training and research.

Hospital's board meetings

Nakhumicha also said that they will include university management in the hospital's board meetings as recommended by the MPs.

The MPs said the management of the hospital should include the university leadership in its decisions.

“We direct that members of the university council who sit in the hospital council be included in all meetings of the hospital moving forward," Jack Wamboka, the committee chairman, said.

This now unlocks a standoff between the management of the university and that of the hospital over the control of the medical facility.

The students and the university management, led by Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina had called for intervention after it emerged that learners could not access the hospital which sits on over 70 acres of land.

 Kenyatta University VC Paul Wainaina when he appeared before the Public Investments Committee on Governance and Education at parliament in Nairobi on September 20, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

However, Nakhumicha blamed the students' lack of access to KUTRRH on the university management saying; "The university was required to write to the Kenya Medical and Dentist Practitioners Council seeking an inspection of an institution that they intend to use for internship and training for accreditation." 

She added: "Because of ego and administrative challenges that have been highlighted, the letter was not written by the university and therefore, the students were not been granted access to the facility."

However, some of Nakhumicha's statements over the matter sparked disapproval from some MPs who called on her to withdraw them as they amounted to the prejudice of the university.

Casting aspersions

“You are casting aspersions on the character of Kenyatta University which is honestly unfair,” Mr Wamboka said.

Nakumicha went on to explain that the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with that of Education, put up a committee to address the issue but this did not bear any fruit.

The CS said she wrote to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council and the nursing council, on behalf of the university, requesting them to carry out an inspection of the hospital to pave the way for the training of students.

This, she said, was done and advisory given that the institution could accommodate up to 100 students for training and internship at any given time.

“The number has been capped at that because of the need to optimise the number of student to patient ratio, “the CS said.