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Charlene Ruto leads MKU students and staff in blood donation

Hundreds of students and staff donated blood as the government launched this year’s National Blood Donation Drive at the Mount Kenya University (MKU) main campus in Thika town. 

It was a beehive of activity at the Mwai Kibaki Convention Centre in the university campus as the entire college fraternity converged to donate blood after an appeal by the university management and student leaders led by MKU’s medical students. Spearheading the event was Charlene Ruto, Kenya’s Blood Ambassador.

 “We need to donate blood for our mothers and patients in our hospitals. We are going to go to the universities, high schools and different institutions because as young people, we should donate blood. Later this week, we will visit the JKUAT university,” she said at MKU.

The First Daughter was recently unveiled by Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha as a Blood Ambassador alongside three other blood ambassadors namely Kennedy Sanya, the highest blood donor in Kenya, Aisha Daffalla, Kenya’s Top Female Blood Donor and Caroline Wang’amati, Coalition of Blood for Africa team lead.

Gracing the occasion at Thika was the Chief Executive Secretary, Ministry of Health, Liti Wambu, the Kiambu County Executive Committee Member, Health Services, Kiambu County, Dr Elias Maina, and the Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Blood Transfusion and Transplant Services (KBTTS), Dr Wakwabubi.

Welcoming guests to the university, MKU vice-chancellor Prof Deogratius Jaganyi, applauded the Kenya Blood Transfusion and Transplant Services (KBTTS) for choosing the university as a preferred partner of choice in launching of the 2024 Blood Transfusion Drive.

The VC said the Kenya Vision 2030 puts Universal Health Care as a key pillar towards which both the national and county governments have devoted a lot of resources to ensure it is adequately funded for the good of all Kenyans.

“In support of the national and global needs on healthcare, MKU has invested and continues to invest heavily through its programmes that train personnel in healthcare to serve this nation and beyond,” he added.

Prof Jaganyi said  the institution supports this need through teaching, research and community engagement. 

“This is offered through the College of Health Sciences which is comprises of five Schools;  Medical, Pharmacy, Clinical Sciences, Nursing and the School of Public Health,” he said.

The event was organised in conjunction with students unions, especially the students within the College of Health Sciences and the student the entire student community at MKU.

“I congratulate our students and staff for the sterling role they are playing by this event,” he said.

Thanking the distinguished guests and all participants in the exercise, Dr Vincent Gaitho, Chairman of the University Council  said MKU is now a role model for Public-Private  Partnerships (PPP).

“This event is taking place here on the PPP model;  It  has brought in the national government and county governments and various private sector players including MKU as the host and a key support of the exercise,” he said. 

In 2013, the institution had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Thika Level 5 Hospital, courtesy of the Kiambu County Government for the promotion of universal health care through joint professional and academic engagements.

“Ever since, the Public-Private Partnership spirit at MKU has grown from strength to strength and had led to immense benefits to the local communities but also to both institutions,”  he added.

Dr Gaitho said MKU has become an international destination in medical services  as well as a Centre of Excellence in Medical and Health Training and Research where a number of partners have joined hands with the college’s scholars and researchers to contribute to the national and international needs in health-care.

“For example, the Centre of Malaria Control within the Institute of Tropical Medicine were launched both launched here at Thika Campus courtesy of the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA).  This state-of-art centre was made possible through Interdisciplinary Research for Integrated Community-Directed Strategy for Sustainable Freedom from Malaria, and is a Sh450 million project. Out of this, Sh300 million is allocated for joint activities in Kenya and Sh150 million for joint activities in Japan,” he said. 

The chairman of the University Council  invited researchers to visit the Thika campus and make use of the Malaria Centre where research on malaria vectors and parasites can be done up to the DNA levels.

“Our doors are widely open to all partners.  All stakeholders here  should formalize linkages follow with our vice-chancellor’s office  so that we can work together in provision of the much-needed health care for the greater good of our communities,” said  Dr Gaitho.

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