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Kenyatta University can't run KUTRRH, says AG Justin Muturi

 Attorney General Justin Muturi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Attorney General Justin Muturi has said that the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) is a State corporation.

The AG said the President, under legal notice number 4 of 2019, established the hospital as a parastatal, placing the facility under the Ministry of Health.

"The Legal notice Number 4 of 2019 which placed Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital under the Ministry of Health is properly based on the provision of the Health Act 2017, consequently, a reversion of the same would conflict with the provisions of the health act 2017," said Muturi.

The AG spoke to the Senate Health Committee on Friday amid a raging controversy, with Vice Chancellor Paul Wainaina demanding that the 650-bed institution be managed by Kenya University.

Muturi said revoking the legal notice would be in conflict with the provisions of the Health Act, 2017.

The AG advised the hospital and the university to make appropriate arrangements so that the facility can be used for medical research as envisaged.

On Wednesday, the differences between the VC and hospital board Chairperson Olive Mugenda played out when they appeared before the National Assembly Public Investments Committee on Governance and Education.

Prof Wainaina said the Level Six hospital would be better managed by the university, while Prof Mugenda argued that the facility should remain a government parastatal since there is no legal framework for an educational institution to run a hospital in the country.

 Kenyatta University VC Paul Wainaina (left) and KUTRRH Board Chair Olive Mugenda before a parliamentary committee on September 20, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

"Everything was going on well with Kenyatta University management running the hospital until a letter came in from the office of the Head of Public Service in 2019 informing the university that the hospital was now a parastatal and asked the administration to hand over," said Wainaina.

The VC argued that the university had developed a business plan to run facility, and that having it reverted back to them would not affect the current management structure.

"We wanted our medical students to be allowed unfettered access to the facility so that they can practice and get the necessary experience in their very own facility that has been taken away from them and they are now being treated like strangers in their very own compound," he said.

However, Mugenda told the committee that the facility was unutilised for three years before she took over.

"I was the vice chancellor of Kenyatta University when the building of this hospital was conceptualised and started. I would also like to tell this committee that I have nothing personal against Prof Wainaina who served as my deputy. I would like to see our two institutions relating in a harmonious manner," she said.

The committee also took issue with the qualifications of the hospital CEO, saying he was not a medical doctor. But the board said Ahmed Dagane had a master's degree in Business Administration and a bachelor's degree in Nursing, and was sufficiently qualified.

And speaking in Mombasa on Friday, Mugenda welcomed Muturi's legal advice. She said the AG's pronouncement would enhance the working relationship between the two institutions.

Mugenda said the hospital was ready for the first cohort of 100 Kenya University School of Medicine students.

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