Medical students caught up in lecturers, varsity fight over perks

University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Stephen Gitahi Kiama during the interview at his office in Nairobi on October 1, 2020.


Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The impending failure to graduate is occasioned by their lecturers’ strike over delay of disbursement of their clinical allowances.
  • The undergraduate students were recalled three weeks ago to undertake a mandatory clinical examination through a directive by the Ministry of Education, but have not been attended to since their resumption.

 The country risks having a shortage of medics if about 600 medical students from University of Nairobi’s College of Health Sciences fail to graduate this year.

The impending failure to graduate is occasioned by their lecturers’ strike over delay of disbursement of their clinical allowances.

The students, both post graduate and undergraduate, have been helping other frontline workers during the Covid-19 period, but are now forced to stop since no one is supervising their work.

That will impair clinical services at institutions where most of the students practice their class work, like Kenyatta National Hospital and the Mathari hospital, since registrars of all departments have downed their tools.

Medical students

“The University of Nairobi produces over 80 per cent of medical students, when they miss their graduation this year, hospitals around the country will have fewer medical interns,” says Dr Kevin Kiambu, the President of the Residents Council at the College of Health Sciences.

The undergraduate students were recalled three weeks ago to undertake a mandatory clinical examination through a directive by the Ministry of Education, but have not been attended to since their resumption.

The class, which has been in medical school for about nine years, will have to wait longer if their lecturer’s woes will not be fulfilled by University of Nairobi’s vice-chancellor, Prof Stephen Kiama.

“We do not wish to graduate as students if our lecturers are not paid,” said Dr Kiambu.

Pay lecturers

In a statement sent to the newsrooms, Prof Kiama insists that the university will not pay lecturers who are not working.

“We have been paying and will continue to pay but we will not pay clinical allowances to those who are not reporting to the hospitals to treat patients and supervise students in the wards,” said Prof Kiama. The lecturers, on the other hand, insist that it is their right to get the clinical allowances and will not work until all members of staff are paid.

Dr Were Onyino, the chairperson Kenya Medical Association, called for the resignation of the vice-chancellor Prof. Kiama.

hshikanda@ke.nationmedia.com, mchelangat@ke.nationmedia.com