By James Anyanzwa
The State has signed a Sh9.85 billion concession loan with Chinese Export Import (Exim) Bank to fund the construction of Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital at the University's Kahawa Campus.
The funds will be used to expand and equip the existing anatomy and basic science laboratories as well as helping establish the pre-clinical teaching departments at the university.
The money will also go towards establishing a specialised research and training departments in cancer, neurosciences and alternative medicine that are not being addressed by any of the country’s institution of higher learning.
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The five-year project, which is expected to commence towards end of this year, would serve as a referral hospital centre for Central, Eastern and North Eastern provinces.
Minister for Finance Uhuru Kenyatta said the 500-bed facility will help ease congestion in public health facilities and shortage of medical personnel.
Uhuru, also Deputy Prime Minister, decried the country’s current doctor/patient ratio of one doctor to 17,000 Kenyans as alarming. The World Health Organisation recommended ratio is 1:6,000.
He said the country is experiencing an increased demand for health services attributable to a rise in morbidities from emerging and re-emerging diseases and a growing population.
"There is an even greater shortage of specialised medical personnel," Uhuru told reporters after signing the loan agreement at the Treasury buildings in Nairobi yesterday.
"In addition, the output of doctors from the two public universities, which currently offer degrees in medicine stands at 200 per year, which is inadequate."
He said the development co-operation between Kenya and China has matured with the latter emerging as one of the country’s major support donors.
Uhuru said the support Kenya receives from China targets key aspects of development co-operation in the economic, political as well as socio-cultural areas.
Among Chinese funded projects in Kenya include Kayole Hospital, Eastern and Northern By-Passes and Thika Superhighway.