The University of Eldoret and the county government of Elgeyo Marakwet on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the establishment of a College of Health Sciences at the Iten county referral hospital.
According to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Teresa Akenga, the college which has been in the masterplan of the university since 2013 will initially start by offering a degree course in nursing before expanding to other medical courses.
Speaking after signing the MOU with the governor Alex Tolgos in his office, the VC said the college will offer other unique courses like herbal medicine, sports medicine and drugs discovery.
“Through research, we have noted that the county is very rich in herbal medicine and our staff is ready to advance the research to see whether we can discover drugs to manage terminal diseases like cancer among others,” she said.
The VC said the university was already undertaking a research of herbal drugs in Embobut forest, adding that they had signed an MOU with the North Rift Herbal Association to assist the herbalists patent their drugs.
Prof. Akenga added that the university had already developed a curriculum for the course on sports medicine and was only awaiting approval from the Commission on University Education before rolling it out.
The VC added that students undertaking nursing at the college once it is established will be deployed to health facilities in the county for their attachment which will assist in the delivery of health services thus playing their role in ensuring that the county attains universal health coverage which is part of the President’s Big 4 agenda.
The Governor said the university will also be of great benefit to nurses who are already serving and would want to advance from diploma to degree, as they have been seeking the training outside the county thus being forced to take study leave.
“This will help us deal with the challenge of shortage of staff which is facing the county as the nurses can seek further training while still serving in their stations,” he said.
Tolgos added that nurses play a critical role in the delivery of health services, saying all the dispensaries in the count are run by nurses and therefore their training was very critical.
The governor added that the establishment of the college will be actualizing the county’s dream of having a university, saying Elgeyo Marakwet was the only county which does not have a university.
“We have always yearned to have a university within the county with residents having given 2,000 acres for the establishment of the Kerio Valley University which is yet to materialize,” he said.
By Alice Wanjiru