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Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) and Jumuia Hospitals Ltd. (JHL), have signed a 5-year Memorundum of Understanding, effectively ushering in a new dawn on the provision of accessible, affordable and high quality health care in the larger Western region.
The agreement that followed weeks of negotiations between MMUST and J.H.L, paves way for an engagement between the two institutions in 8 main areas, under a special collaborative teaching partnership framework.
The objective of the agreement is to synergize efforts of both MMUST and JHL, with a view of stimulating collaborative consultancy, strengthening training, technical and development support initiatives, enhancing quality and affordable medical healthcare services to stakeholders.
The deal will among other things, involve active participation in training and capacity building, sharing of facilities, devolved county government programmes, consultancies, technical development support initiatives for staff and students of MMUST and Jumuia Hospitals Ltd. a subsidiary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK). The MOU shall specifically apply to MMUST School of Medicine and J.H.L Kaimosi that is expected to be officially opened early next year.
The elaborate signing ceremony at Jumuia Friends Hospital Kaimosi, was presided over by MMUST Vice Chancellor Prof. Frederick Otieno, NCCK’s Chairperson Reverend Canon Rosemary Mbogo, Honorary Treasurer Mr. Sam Mwale, General Secretary Reverend Canon Peter Karanja, Jumuia Hospitals Ltd Chairman Mr. Kibuga Kariithi and a host of Board members .
Also present were both MMUST and NCCK's senior management led by Executive Dean (School of Medicine) Prof. Charles Chunge and Deputy General Secretary Dr. Nelson Makanda respectively and various church leaders among them the Council’s regional chair for Western Bishop Zedekiah Chunge.
Speaking during the ceremony, Prof. Otieno lauded the Council for the bold move and assured of MMUST support. He said: “I am grateful that today has come. This is an extra special day to write history. What NCCK is doing is God sent because medical facilities are quite expensive here.”
While expressing gratitude that the partnership had finally been actualized, Prof. Otieno acknowledged that it would have remained a dream were it not for the commitment of both sides. “This dream has been on for quite some time. Without taking such bold steps, it would have remained a dream. The dream of starting this hospital is something that excites me,” he offered.
NCCK’s Chairperson Rev.Canon Rosemary Mbogo hailed the partnership terming it the beginning of greater things. “We are in a beginning. We are here to begin together. The end will be better. The spirit of tenacity will be so needful as we move together in this partnership,” said Canon Mbogo.
Canon Mbogo shared with the team how her husband had been attended to round the clock by an Indian specialist when he fell ill during a working tour in a neighbouring country, only to be charged a fraction of the bill, which was quite inexpensive compared to the situation in the country. “There is nothing as expensive as caring than not caring,” she pointed out and urged MMUST to make use of Jumuia Friends Hospital Kaimosi in dispensing and preserving knowledge in the medical field.
In his address, NCCK’s General Secretary Rev. Canon Peter Karanja appraised the gathering on the history of the Council and what informed her decision to enter medical health under Jumuia Hospitals Ltd, benchmarked on the Indian model. Canon Karanja regretted that health care delivery in Kenya was quite appalling adding that the MMUST/JHL partnership would not only compliment the government’s efforts but also address some of the existing imbalances in the medical field. “Kenyans who are not necessarily rich should have access to affordable health care. You must explain why India is able to offer quality medical health care at a fraction of the price charged here in Kenya,” posed canon Karanja.
He said: “This is why we decided that a nexus must be established between knowledge and care people. JHL can be an outlet for MMUST staff. MMUST is a major actor in this region, we intend to be a major actor too. We have a lot of faith in this partnership.”
The ceremony was punctuated with light moments when J.H.L Chairman Mr. Kibuga Kariithi tried to compare the bills in India and Kenya. “You see the bills in India and you think there is a zero missing”. Our vision is based on that global standard in equipment and doctors,” he clarified.
Mr. Kariithi added: “Diagnostics in Kenya have remained uncertain. That is the difference between Kenya and India. That is the journey we have begun and that is why we need to bring in MMUST. We hope that you will be our partners in teaching. We want to put a firm foundation in Kaimosi.”
His sentiments were echoed by NCCK’s Hon. Treasurer Mr. Sam Mwale, who pointed out that health care in Kenya can no longer be a privilege for the few. “What we are witnessing today is about bridging the old delivery model and ushering in a new healthcare delivery model. We are on a winning proposal and writing history. It is from such beginnings that great things happen,” said Mr. Mwale.
On his part, Prof. Chunge declared that the ceremony had offered an opportunity for the solemnization of a “marriage” between MMUST and J.H.L. “This is a great occasion. We now have permission to officially get married. We hope that our relationship will give us access to even older doctors in India to appoint them as adjunct,” said Prof. Chunge.
He informed the team that Kaimosi was one of the regions with high mortality rate adding that the partnership was a timely intervention. “The statistics in this place are horrible. People do not go to hospital because they will die there. So they die at home and taken to the morgue. This intervention is extremely important to us because of the high mortality rate. It is possible to make a difference,” he assured.