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MMUST Efforts to Improve Healthcare Education Continue as It Hosts University of Nottingham Delegation to Discuss Possible Areas of Collaboration

MMUST-University of Nottingham teams pose for a group photo at the DIAL office.

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology has hosted a delegation from the University of Nottingham, UK, to explore possible areas of collaboration in healthcare education. The team, which comprised of Prof. Yash Mahida, a professor of Medicine, and the Senior Global Engagement Manager at the University of Nottingham, Mr. Joshua Hawkins, visited MMUST on Thursday, 19th January, 2023, courtesy of the Kenya-UK Health Alliance.

The visitors were received by Dr. Rose Opiyo, who was standing in for the Director, International Relations and Academic Linkages (DIAL), Dr. Catherine Aura. “This collaboration will have a huge impact on not only the School of Medicine, but also other faculties within the University, as well as the community and the Lake Region Economic Block,” stated Dr. Opiyo.

Speaking during the meeting, Prof. Yash noted that his University was interested in understanding MMUST’s School of Medicine, by familiarizing with its programmes, activities, inspirations and plans on its areas of interest to enable development of a mutually beneficial collaboration between the two institutions.

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Prof. Yash Mahida gives a presentation during the MMUST-University of Nottingham meeting.

“At Nottingham, there is significant interest in Basic Science, particularly infectious diseases, expertise in molecular microbiology, parasitology including malaria, antimicrobial stewardship, Hepatitis C&B, clinical aspects of pneumonia and COVID-19,” stated the Professor of Medicine. Additionally, he briefed the meeting of the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre which receives a stream of funding for Experimental Medicine and Translational Research, where the areas of strength are: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Gastrointestinal & Liver, Hearing, Mental Health & Technology; Musculoskeletal, Surgery, Inflammation & Recovery; Respiratory Medicine, Informatics and COVID-19.

The University of Nottingham team also revealed that the advancement of technology in the medical sector has resulted in great improvement of health for patients with common diseases. This paved way to a discussion on the challenges faced in the Kenyan healthcare system, which despite having adequate infrastructure and human resource, does not provide excellent services. Prof. Yash noted that the UK faces challenges as well, and added that it is important for Kenya to understand its problems in order to identify gaps for intervention.

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MMUST-University of Nottingham teams discuss at the DIAL office.

MMUST’s School of Medicine team also had the opportunity to share some of its ongoing research, citing their achievements, challenges and areas of interest.

In harmony, the two (2) institutions proposed for inclusion of exchange programmes between staff and students, clinical elective exchange programs for students, online seminars for both students and staff, introduction of virtual collaborative courses in the form of short courses that will target the identified gaps with regards to skills and expertise, after which the learners will be issued with transcripts and certificates that will allow them to practice internationally.   

Notably, the group also held discussions and proposed to undertake collaborative research, joint review of publications with a view of how to expand the scope of citation matrix that will enable them secure funding when opportunities arise.

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University of Nottingham’s Mr. Joshua Hawkins gives a presentation during the meeting.

Interestingly, the team from MMUST sought the opinion of Prof. Yash regarding the use of traditional herbal medicine. This triggered conversation among the participants who confirmed that herbal medicine has been commonly used over the years for treatment, prevention of diseases and health promotion as well as for enhancing quality of life. They however agreed that despite this adoption, there is need to keenly look into issues of lack of research data, education and training, information, safety monitoring upon use, and methods to evaluate their safety and efficacy.

The Kenya-UK Health Alliance is a collaboration between the Governments of Kenya and the UK, which aims to uplift the standard of healthcare in Kenya, through research, workforce training and education of healthcare professionals, initially focusing on improving cancer outcomes through early detection, rapid diagnosis and the delivery of high-quality care. Certainly, this alliance will power up MMUST’s national and international networks, thereby improving the quality of training in this sector.

Other participants from MMUST included; Ag. Dean School of Medicine, Dr. Iddah Ali, Professor of Medicine, Prof. James Aggrey Oloo, adjunct lecturers Department of Medical Physiology, Dr. Henry Nyongesa and Dr. Sarah Okiya, who is also an anaesthesiologist at the Kakamega County Referral Hospital, and the Ag. Director Corporate Communications and Marketing, Prof. Stanley Omuterema.

By Caren Nekesa

Photos by Wangari Wambugu

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