Kenya’s Ministry of Finance has signed a concessional loan agreement for Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital Project amounting to Sh 9.85 billion with the government of China.
The 500-bed hospital will be the first fully fledged university hospital in the country. Construction will commence by the end of 2011. Currently the University of Nairobi ’s School of Medicine utilizes the facilities of Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) while Moi University School of Medicine utilizes the facilities of Moi Referral Hospital in Eldoret.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta who presided over the signing ceremony said “China is one of our major donors supporting our economic development with an accumulative official development assistance amounting Sh 57.442 billion.”
Kenya is experiencing an increase in demand for health services attributed to increases in morbidity from emerging and re-emerging diseases and also a growing population, Mr Kenyatta said.
He pointed out that the current doctor to patient ratio in the country is one doctor to 17,000 Kenyans, which is far bellow the World Health Organization recommended ratio of one to 6,000.
There is an even greater shortage of specialized medical personnel, the Minister said, adding that the output of doctors from the University of Nairobi and Moi University stands at 200 per year, which is inadequate.
Furthermore, the massive brain drain of highly qualified medical personnel from Kenya exacerbates the problem.
Once completed, The Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital Project aims at addressing these challenges by establishing a teaching, research and referral hospital at the University’s Kahawa Campus. This will involve expanding and equipping the existing anatomy and basic science laboratories as well as the establishment of the pre-clinical teaching departments at the University.
Moreover, the project will establish specialist research and training departments in oncology and neurosciences medicine that are not being addressed by any institution of higher learning in Kenya. Also due to its strategic location, the hospital will serve as a referral hospital for the Central, Eastern and North Eastern provinces.
The school and the hospital will be self sustaining, the upbeat Mr Kenyatta said. “This will be done through fees paid by the students, and charges levied for services rendered to the university staff, students and surrounding communities. This will significantly contribute to the repayment of the loan we have signed today.”
Kenya’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Professor Hellen Sambili, who accompanied the Minister of Finance, said China has increased the number of university scholarships to Kenyans from 30 to 64 a year to strengthen its ties with Kenya.
Prof Sambili said the Chinese government has so far supported technical institutions to the tune of Sh 2.5 billion. For his part, the Assistant President of the Export Import Bank of China, Mr Yuan Xingyong who represented the government of China said the co-operation between the two countries will continue to improve the economic and social welfare of the people of Kenya.
Mr. Xingyong said the Sh 9.85 billion will be used to construct teaching and research facilities at the Kenyatta University school of medicine and also for equipment and capacity development.
The Chinese government have so far funded the Kayole Hospital, the Eastern and Northern Bypass and Thika Superhighway. The Kenyan government has made an official request for loan facilities through the Export Import Bank of China for the Nairobi Southern Bypass road, kibwezi -Mutomo – Kitui – Mwingi – Tseikuru – Usueni Road, the construction of a Standard Gauge Railway Line from Nairobi to Malaba and the Development of Lamu Port Projects are under consideration to be signed soon.