Stakeholders from the Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UK Export Finance (UKEF) to establish a Centre of Excellence in Health Education and Training to serve East Africa.
The Sh30 billion project is part of the Kenya-UK Health Alliance (KUKHA) signed in 2020 and will be established at Kisii University.
Vice-chancellors from Maseno, Egerton, Masinde Muliro and Kisii universities witnessed the signing of the MOU to establish the center that would be a milestone in the region’s efforts to enhance the delivery of quality healthcare.
According to LREB Chairperson and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, the facility will be a regional hub for health care research, innovation and training of advanced level medical personnel for Kenya and East African countries.
“The project through the Centre will help increase the pool of well-trained medical professionals, support and strengthen health institutions, enhance quality assurance through offering quality training for medics and support research,” he said.
The hub will collaborate with the best hospitals and doctors in the world, exchange students, lecturers and research protocols between Kenya and UK.
Oparanya said upon successful implementation of the pilot project, the programme will be rolled out to other counties to realize the Universal Health Care Agenda.
He added that it would ensure sustained human resource development in the health sector bringing equity to guarantee sustainable service delivery.
“I laud the collective efforts initiating the KUKHA MOU and the leadership of the universities in the health pillar as this will go a long way in ensuring that our people access quality healthcare, and at the same time enhance capacity,” he emphasized.
Kisii University Vice-chancellor Prof John Akama disclosed the university has set aside 65 acres of land to house a hospital campus with 1000 bed capacity, a comprehensive research Centre, theatres, laboratories and a school of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, biomedical science and nursing.
Akama said partner universities would collaborate to promote specialist healthcare and research in non-communicable diseases, malaria, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell disease, mental health and substance abuse.
“This project will be a game-changer in western Kenya and the East African region. It will develop innovation and research in healthcare and improve the quality of services offered in the region,” he emphasized.
Additionally, he said, it will be a key pillar in the realization of Kenya Vision 2030 where it will attract students from the whole East African region and aid access to education of the highest global standard.
KUKHA brings together Kenya and UK institutions among them universities, teaching hospitals and research institutions collaborating on health to provide a platform for bilateral knowledge exchange and capacity improvement.
“We shall work together to develop a resilient and flexible multi-professional health workforce with strong inter-professional working skills capable of dealing with the rising incidence of non-communicable diseases,” Prof. Graham Lord, Vice President of the University of Manchester said.
By Evangeline Mola and Lorine Awino