Kenya has signed a Sh9.85 billion concessionary loan with China for construction of Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Speaking at Treasury building during the signing, Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta, said yesterday that the total official development assistance from China over the years had reached Sh57.4 billion.
He added that among the projects funded by China were Kayole Hospital, the Eastern and Northern bypasses and the Thika superhighway.
“The signing of this agreement brings us to another level of co-operation,” he said.
The loan agreement was signed by the assistant president of Export Import Bank of China, Mr Yuan Xingyong.
The 500-bed hospital to be established at Kahawa Campus, the minister said, will help increase the number of trained doctors and act as a referral hospital for central, eastern and north eastern residents.
University board chairman Ben Wairegi said construction is expected to commence by the end of the year and be completed in under five years.
Construction will involve expansion and equipping of anatomy and basic science laboratories and establishment of pre-clinical and clinical teaching departments at the university.
The project will also include specialised research and training departments in cancer, neurosciences and alternative medicine not present in the country.
Kenyatta will be the third public university to have a referral hospital in the country.
The minister said the project will sustain itself through fees paid by students, and charges levied for services to the students, staff and the public.
He said the country had one doctor for 17,000 patients, more than twice the ratio recommended by World Health Organisation of 6,000 patients.
Kenya produces only 200 doctors a year; hence shortage persists, a problem worsened by emigration in search of greener pastures.
The minister said the country had made requests for funding of more projects from China.
“It is my hope that our official request for loan facilities for the Nairobi south bypass road, Kibwezi road, construction of a standard gauge railway line from Nairobi to Malaba and development of Lamu port projects are under consideration and signing of financial agreements will be done soon,” he said.