KENYA: KU hospital ownership row escalates

February 2021 Business daily ; The ownership tussle over Kenyatta University Teaching, Research and Referral Hospital (KUTRRH) intensified after revelations that university staff and students have been denied access to do practicals at the facility.

Documents tabled in Parliament expose underneath battles pitting the hospital board against the Kenyatta University (KU) management for control of the Sh8.7 billion facility.

Initial plans for establishment of the hospital was for its facilities to be used for teaching, training and research exclusively.

“This is not happening given that KU students and staff have been denied access to these facilities,” said Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) Kenyatta University Chapter secretary general George Lukoye in the petition to Parliament.

President Uhuru Kenyatta gazetted the hospital as a parastatal under the Ministry of Health (MoH) on January 25 2019, effectively severing the relationship between it and the university.

The hospital as a parastatal under the MoH is not obligated to allow unlimited accessibility and availability to KU staff and students.

The lecturers’ union claims attempts to delink the hospital from the University started in 2016 when KU council moved to change its name to Kenyatta University Health Care Systems Limited.

The process however flopped after activist Okiya Omtatah successfully challenged the change of name and appointment of former KU vice chancellor Olive Muganda as the facility’s chief executive officer.

In April 2019, the Public Service Commission (PSC) seconded Prof Mugenda to chair the board of the hospital following its declaration as a parastatal.

Mr Lukoye maintained that the transfer of KUTRRH from KU to MoH is flawed and goes against the University’s Strategic Plan 2016-2026.

“The establishment of KUTRRH was meant to serve all students in the School of Health Sciences and not selected few,” he said.

The university currently depends on infrastructure and facilities in other health institutions to train health professionals, a situation that the union says is expensive and unsustainable.

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