The LREB and Varsities have reached an agreement to establish a health training centre.
Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) stakeholders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UK Export Finance (UKEF) to establish a Centre of Excellence in Health Education and Training to serve East Africa.
The Sh30 billion project, which will be based at Kisii University, is part of the Kenya-UK Health Alliance (KUKHA), which was signed in 2020.
Vice-chancellors from Maseno, Egerton, Masinde Muliro and Kisii universities witnessed the signing of the MOU to establish the centre, which would be a watershed moment in the region’s efforts to improve healthcare delivery.
The facility, according to LREB Chairperson and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, will serve as a regional hub for health care research, innovation, and training of advanced-level medical personnel for the nation at large and beyond.
“Through the Centre, the project will help increase the pool of well-trained medical professionals, support and strengthen health institutions, improve quality assurance by providing quality training for medics, and support research,” he said.
The hub will work with the best hospitals and doctors in the world, as well as exchange students, lecturers, and research protocols between Kenya and the United Kingdom.
Oparanya stated that if the pilot project is successful, the program will be expanded to other counties to realize the Universal Health Care Agenda.
He went on to say that it would ensure long-term human resource development in the health sector, bringing equity and ensuring long-term service delivery.
“I applaud the collaborative efforts that led to the KUKHA MOU and the leadership of the universities in the health pillar, as this will go a long way toward ensuring that our people have access to quality healthcare while also increasing capacity,” he said.
Prof John Akama, Vice-Chancellor of Kisii University, announced that the university has set aside 65 acres of land for a hospital campus with a 1000-bed capacity, a comprehensive research centre, theatres, laboratories, and a school of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, biomedical science, and nursing.
According to Akama, partner universities will work together to promote specialist healthcare and research in non-communicable diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell disease, mental health, and substance abuse.
“This project will change the game in Western Kenya and the East African region. It will foster innovation and research in healthcare, as well as improve the quality of services provided in the region,” he stated emphatically.
Furthermore, he stated that it will be a key pillar in the realization of Kenya Vision 2030, attracting students from the entire East African region and facilitating access to education of the highest global standard.
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KUKHA brings together Kenyan and UK institutions working on health, including universities, teaching hospitals, and research institutions, to provide a platform for bilateral knowledge exchange and capacity building.
“We will collaborate to create a resilient and flexible multi-professional health workforce with strong inter-professional working skills capable of dealing with the rising incidence of noncommunicable diseases,” said Prof. Graham Lord, Vice President of the University of Manchester.