Kabarak University on Wednesday held a ground breaking ceremony for the first and only mission referral hospital in the country.
A brainchild of Retired President Daniel arap Moi, Kabarak University Teaching, Research and Referral Mission Hospital, which is expected to be operational by 2020, will be constructed at a cost of Sh 45 billion.
The project is said to have been conceived by the former president in 1978 alongside the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.
In addition to the main facility in Nakuru County, a 250 bed Kabarak University Hospital Nairobi will be constructed and 23 mission hospitals upgraded with support from the Christian Health Association of Kenya.
The hospital, to be put up on 100 hectares of land, will be complete with a cancer centre, a medical research centre, specialties in cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, neurology and other diagnostic services, a funeral home, staff houses and a business centre, among others.
It is expected to be equipped with modern medical equipment.
Acting Kabarak University Vice Chancellor Dr Henry Kiplangat said the university will provide world-class medical care locally.
Retired President Moi, who is the Kabarak University Chancellor and President Uhuru Kenyatta, who were scheduled to grace the occasion were not present.
Speaker after speaker acknowledged the former president's contribution and dedication to the development of education and health sectors.
QUALITY MEDICAL SERVICES
At the event, President Kenyatta was represented by Health Cabinet Secretary Dr Cleophas Mailu while the former president was represented by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.
The former president, in a speech read on his behalf by Senator Moi, said the project is intended to provide high quality specialised medical services in Kenya and East and Central African region.
“My mission for establishing the medical school and now this referral facility was inspired by the need to provide good and quality medical education opportunities for young Kenyans who have a passion to serve in the medical field,” he said.
“My desire was to provide affordable and accessible quality medical services here in Kenya with Christian love and compassion,” he added.
He said mission hospitals in the country have remained key partners with the government in the delivery of quality medical services to local communities, especially in rural areas and urban slums.
However, he said despite their commitment and contribution to the health sector, their potential has been limited by inadequate and aged infrastructural facilities, hence the decision to upgrade medical facilities in 23 mission hospitals alongside the main project.
The project will be financed by US based Private Equity Sygec international among other stakeholders.
The Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) for the project will include EIFFAGE (French based), EGMF (Belgium) and CMB (Italian).
The university will use the facility to train doctors, nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.
It is also expected to ease congestion in hospitals in the Rift Valley region.
President Kenyatta, in a speech delivered by Dr Mailu said mission hospitals contribute up to 40 per cent of health services in the country.
The President, however, acknowledged there has been an increased demand for specialised diagnostic and treatment at a referral level.
President Kenyatta said the Retired President's initiative and his vision will greatly contribute to the realisation of universal healthcare in the country.
He said the referral hospital will complement some of the training demands and general community oriented practitioners in medical practice while providing the much needed tertiary care.
“The task at hand is commendable and Kenyans are looking forward to this success,” he said, reiterating the government's commitment to supporting the project.
The Health Cabinet Secretary said the retired president had contributed immensely to advancement of access to medical services.
Also present at the event were several clerics led by Archbishop Dr Jackson ole Sapit and African Inland Church Presiding Bishop Dr Silas Yego, Rongai MP Raymond Moi and partners in the project, among others.