Mount Kenya University (MKU) has graduated its first batch of medical doctors amid calls to train more medics in the face of the Covid-19 health crisis.
The 29 pioneer doctors who enrolled at the university six years ago were awarded their bachelor’s degrees along with 6,556 other graduands during the 19th graduation ceremony on Friday.
University’s Dean of Medical School Dr Josphat Njuguna said the fresh graduates will help ease the shortage of medics in the country and will go a long way in helping deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking during the university’s virtual graduation in Thika, the Dean said the group will go ahead in helping ease medical personnel burden in Kenyan hospitals.
He also announced plans by the University to start offering master’s degrees for medical doctors from next year in order to bring out a pool of highly experienced specialised medical personnel in the country.
“We have entered into partnership with government institutions in areas of training and research which is expected to go a long way towards achieving the country’s universal healthcare goal,” he said.
The University collaborates with the Thika Level 5 hospital in areas of training and research in the medical field, where the university built a Sh300 million anatomy lab through a public/private pact.
The Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Josphat Ngugi said the collaboration has borne fruits in helping train medics from the university, saying they pride themselves in the graduation of the 29 medics from MKU.
He called for expansion of the areas of training to ensure students specialised in several areas of the medical field.
While noting that the current country’s ratio of over 70,000 patients per doctor is far below the World Health Organisation recommended figure of one doctor to 11,000 patients, Dr Ngugi called on universities to be admitting more students to train in medicine fields in their undergraduate programmes.
On issues of mental health, the University’s co-founder and board member Dr Jane Nyutu said a counselling unit has been set up to help cope with growing mental health challenges which escalated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The school has had its fair share of mental health cases that have resulted in suicides and murders over the past year, causing concern to parents and stakeholders.
“There has been a surge in incidents of suicide, murders arising from relationships, violence directed at parents, children and even teachers as well as a spike in drug and substance abuse. We have set up a centre to provide psycho-social support to students and other youth in general,” said Dr Nyutu
The founder chairman Prof Simon Gicharu said MKU has widened partnerships with local and global organisations to deepen its impact in the society.
By Muoki Charles