Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) School of Medicine in partnership with Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) have launched the first ever Masters programmes in Emergency Medicine and Dermatology in Kenya.
This was announced during a colorful ceremony held at KNH on September 22, 2021.
Speaking during the event, Health Principal Secretary, Ms. Susan Mochache lauded the initiative, noting the country has only three emergency medical doctors and 34 dermatologists who are insufficient for the country’s 47 counties. This, she said, has had dire repercussions, leading to increased morbidity and mortality given that acute emergency care remains underdeveloped in the country.
“Incidents that require urgent care are escalating, particularly with the acceleration of unpredictable climate change disasters. Offering these courses locally will reduce the government’s burden of expensive training abroad and therefore the Ministry of Health will support 30 students through competitive scholarships to be distributed between the two programs,” indicated Ms. Mochache.
In her remarks, JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi said the new programme in emergency medicine is expected to improve the initial care received by the patient, thus, improve clinical outcomes by reducing disability, reducing admission rate and length of stay at the hospital and thus, cost of care and crowding in hospitals.
“There is no doubt, the move will address the shortage of emergency physicians in Kenya, particularly now that the Covid 19 Pandemic has put a strain on the healthcare system. I wish to affirm that JKUAT remains committed in working closely with the Government in delivering on the Big Four Agenda, where health care is a critical pillar and component,” said Prof. Ngumi.
The Chief Executive Officer KNH Dr Evanson Kamuri noted that the journey towards this initiative began in the year 2000 and only came to fruition with the concerted efforts of the two institutions. He expressed confidence that the huge gap experienced by inadequate specialists would now be addressed.
His sentiments were echoed by the Chairperson of the KNH Board, Dr. George Ooko, who said that such partnerships needed to expand countrywide in order to alleviate the current situation in emergency response. He further hailed the inauguration of the advanced dermatology programme, stating that 20 per cent of Kenyans suffer from skin ailments that affect their image.
The courses which will commence in January 2022, will be, according to Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs Prof. Robert Kinyua, “a culmination of a long journey which started as a result of a needs-based assessment and consultations with relevant stakeholders, leading to the partnership with KNH. This move, he said, is set to catapult our healthcare system to global benchmarks.
JKUAT was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa, COHES Principal, Prof. Haroun Mengech, Dean, School of Medicine, Dr. Reuben Thuo, Dean School of Nursing, Dr. Kyalo Mutisya, Specialists from SoMMED: Dr. Jacqueline Andhoga, Dr. Philemon Namasaka, Dr. Patrick Mburugu, Dr. Justus Simba, Dr. Mathias Aketch and Eunice Chelogoi.