Students protest denied access to KUTRRH

Kenyatta University medical students during demonstration outside the institution. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Kenyatta University students have revived their efforts to persuade the management of the Kenyatta University Teaching, Research, and Referral Hospital to grant them access to the facility for academic reasons.

The students issued a two-week ultimatum to the university’s administration to allow students to utilise the hospital for medical classes.

According to Jafar Kasaya, a fifth-year medical student, the students received the short end of the stick once the hospital was open.

“The plan was that the students would get the best possible exposure to enable them to level up to global standards in healthcare,” Kasaya said.

He said an audit conducted by the East African Community national medical and dental practitioners’ boards and councils pressed the university to resolve the ownership and access stalemate or the medical students would be deregistered. “The university is required to demonstrate the ability to conduct teaching and research, which were the primary factors that led the board to approve the KU medical teaching programmes,” one student said.

The students are concerned that their medical school may be de-registered due to a lack of training facilities. “We are unable to complete our medical electives, and there is no communication about available internship opportunities at the hospital,” said Rachael Muthoni, a medical student. They said medical students’ practical sessions were held in the Kiambu Sub-county Level 5 hospital, which they claimed was “under-resourced, overcrowded, and incapable of providing a stimulating environment for medical studies.”

“Five years after the hospital’s establishment, forces have conspired to deny us our right to be taught fully, having been denied access and use of the hospital,” KUSA president Teddy Odhiambo said. “Even though the facility is fully functional and retains the name Kenyatta University, no KU student or lecturer has ever been granted access to its perimeter fence to learn,” he said.

The students’ organisation requested the president’s assistance, as well as that of their vice-chancellor, Prof Paul Wainaina, and the KU management board, “to facilitate the unconditional surrender and return of the KUTRRH to Kenyatta University within two weeks, failing which unspecified action shall be taken.”

​The medical students further demanded that they begin to use the hospital for their learning purposes and that the repurposed medical school revert back to KU, and that allocation of lecture halls, training personnel and wards be done before next semester begins.