President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday morning at State House, Nairobi held talks with visiting officials of the University of Manchester and Christie NHS Foundation where it was agreed to establish a strategic partnership aimed at strengthening healthcare sector in the country.
The meeting was a follow up of the signing of an MoU between Kenya and the two British institutions on the sidelines of the recent UK-Africa investment summit in London.
Through the partnership, the University of Manchester and Christie NHS Foundation Trust will collaborate with Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital (KUTRRH) in the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases with special emphasis on cancer and mental health.
The agreement provides for the training as well as exchange of health professionals including Kenyan nurses who will get an opportunity to serve in Britain.
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Kenya will benefit from a comprehensive skills upgrade programme for health experts in specialist areas such as heart, kidney and cancer diseases.
President Kenyatta expressed gratitude to the UK officials saying their coming to Kenya immediately after their London talks demonstrates a genuine desire to partner with Kenya in the health sector.
He said through this partnership, Kenya will receive support to establish a cancer centre of excellence at the KUTRRH.
“Our desire is not only to make Kenyatta University a Centre for Research and Treatment but also to reduce the costs in treatment of non-communicable diseases,” the President said noting that the cancer centre will be linked to regional hubs to facilitate early diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
The partnership between the two UK institutions and KUTRRH will go a long away in fulfilling President Kenyatta’s promise to do everything in his power to bring down the costs of cancer treatment in the country.
Cancer is the third leading cause of death in Kenya, after infectious and cardiovascular diseases, and it is estimated that there are nearly 48,000 new cancer cases reported annually.
“We are building hospitals but we don’t have the capacity that’s why we seek collaboration in training our people and build their capacity to provide adequate services to our people up to the grassroots,” the President said.
He added: “We have to be strategic in how we will establish this partnership so that we can have a win-win for Kenya and the UK.”
Speaking on behalf of the University of Manchester and the Christie NHS Foundation Prof Keith Brennan said his team is determined to ensure the collaboration works for the good of two countries.
“We are very grateful to be here soon after our engagement in the UK and we are looking forward to finalizing this historic venture,” said Prof Keith who is also the Associate Dean for Internationalization at Manchester University.
The UK officials will hold a series of meeting with Kenyatta University and Kenya’s Ministry of Health officials with the aim of kick-starting the collaboration in coming months.
Besides KUTRRH, the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital (KTRH) will be the other major beneficiary of the deal that will see appendages and radiotherapies established across the country.
Present during the State House meeting were outgoing Health CS Sicily Kariuki, Kisii Governor James Ongwae and Health PS Susan Mochache.
Professor Keith was accompanied by the University of Manchester Vice Dean for Social Responsibility Prof Mahesh Nirmalan, the Christie NHS Foundation Executive Medical Director Prof Christopher Harrison and the Director of Christie School of Oncology Professor Richard Cowan.