, 13 March, 2020 / 2:21 AM
Following last week’s closure of a Kenya-based Catholic medical institution, the leadership of the facility has, in a Wednesday, March 11 statement, defended its credibility, blaming the state of things to biased and contradictory reports from multiple agencies.
“Uzima has been a victim of contradictory recommendations from the two regulatory authorities viz. KMPDC (Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Council) and EACMPDB (East African Community Medical and Dental Board), which seem not to respect each other's decisions,” reads in part the statement by the management of Uzima University College seen by ACI Africa.
Following the multi-agency inspection, the management of the Catholic institution was given six months to close and distribute the continuing students to the other medical schools, after the third joint inspection of medical and dental schools, and teaching hospitals found the institution to be only 49 percent compliant.
The March 2-6 inspection focused on governance and management, academic programmes, human resource, student affairs, infrastructure, monitoring and evaluation of programmes, research and innovation.
According to the institution’s management, “if professionalism and audit ethics had been strictly adhered to by the evaluator, then the many glaring anomalies in the final report which has damaged the otherwise good reputation of our medical school would have been averted and corrected before releasing the same to the press.”
“The inconsistency between the verbal exit report and the final report only underlines the value of Evaluatee and the evaluator being involved in a corroboration exercise to pick up gaps,” further reads the statement jointly signed by the Vice Chancellor Designate, Fr. Cosmas Rhagot K’Otienoh, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Prof. Chris Oyoo, and the Dean, School of Medicine, Dr. B.K.O. Ganda.
Responding to concerns in the report that found some specific heads of department inappropriate because they lack the required five-year teaching experience in an institution of higher learning, the management of the Kisumu-based Catholic institution observe, “It is very unfortunate and inaccurate, given their expertise, qualification and teaching experiences in their specialties, and whose evidences were availed to the team and hereby reproduced.”
The leadership of the institution has added, “To include Identities of professionals in a document which can easily find its way to the social media is in itself very unethical.”
Regarding academic programmes offered at the University, which the inspection team appreciated, the institution was instead awarded “12 out of a possible 20 marks,” a score the university’s leadership says is “hard to fathom.”
In addition, the audit report also indicated that key laboratories such as parasitology, haematology and pathology have not been established, a claim that the institution’s leadership has termed as inaccurate saying, “We have an established Microbiology Laboratory which houses Parasitology and Bacteriology.”
On the claim by the authorities that the enrolled number of students has exceeded the limit approved by the KMPDC, those at the helm of the institution state that “Uzima has a declared capacity of eighty, however it received 73 students from Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) and 7 privately sponsored students, in 2019.”
The institution’s management further clarifies, “1t is very difficult to turn away government sponsored students, who are qualified when you have the capacity to train them.”
The Kenyan authority’s report also indicates that lectures at Uzima University College were being conducted in an incomplete building, which is a safety hazard for students and the teaching staff, a shortcoming that saw the institution score 15 out of 30 marks on infrastructure.
“We want to reiterate that the construction is done in phases during recess. This does not compromise the safety of students as indicated in the report,” the leadership of the institution has responded.
Responding to what the management team termed “contradictions” in the audit report, the institution requests “for an objective review of this report.”
Uzima University, a constituent college of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) is the brainchild of the Archbishop emeritus of Kenya’s Kisumu Archdiocese, Zacchaeus Okoth.
Moved by the pain and the challenges experienced by the populace in the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) region, the Archbishop Okoth decided to invest in a medical education and research enterprise that would address the dire need for the provision of medical services and expertise in the region comprising 122 dioceses spread across eight Bishops’ conferences in nine countries.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa