Strathmore University Medical Center, Strathmore University Medical Centre strives to fulfill one of the universitys mandates of Service to society by providing excellent and quality healthcare to all patients. Just over three years old, the centre envisions being a leading medical and research centre in the next 3-5 years, which serves the university community and those in its environs.
Mrs. Harriet Koyoson, Director of the Medical Centre had the following to say on strides that the medical centre has made so far up to December 31, 2014.
The University Medical Centre began its operations in Nov 2011 and was officially launched on March 2012 by the Pro-Chancellor, Rev. Dr. Silvano Ochuodho.
To date, the centre has served over 4,700 patients comprising students, staff members and their families and those from the nearby Madaraka area. The centre was opened with the intent of providing health services to staff and students at the university. Setting up this kind of facility is a requirement for universities by Commission for University Education (CUE) and besides it is also part of fulfilling the universitys strategic plan of enhancing student experience, engaging in research and enterprise and services to society.
The Medical Centre offers a comprehensive range of out-patient services and has a resident doctor and nurse. There are part-time doctors and nurses who assist the full time personnel. The doctors on a part-time engagement are recruited based on their area of specialization, hence there is a visiting pediatrician, two visiting physicians – one is specialized in internal medicine and the other in cardiology and diabetes. A full-time dentist, a nutritionist and three counselors are also part of the team.
As regards the equipment, the Medical center has imaging machines such as an ultra-sound machine, echo-cardiogram equipment, and other emergency equipments. A fully-equipped laboratory and pharmacy are also in place.
With assistance from Faculty of Information Technology, the centre has developed a custom-made ICT system that manages patient data in real-time for an efficient and faster communication between various service departments. The new system, is now fully operational and provides a platform for faster service delivery to the patients.
To move from the present level to the next level of preparing ground for teaching, the hospital will require a steering committee to work on the expected upgrade. A strategy document will spell out the resources required in order to move to that level, ranging from land requirements, programs to be taught, staff identification and training and, funding required and their sources. Time lines will be established.
The steering Committee will be a committee of the Management Board.
Initial funding of the medical centre was from several donors including Shah Ranmal Raja Charitable trust, Kenya; Fundacion Enrique Esteve Ballet, Spain; Marcelo Toledo, Spain; Galway Clinic, Ireland; and donations from parents, staff and alumni of Strathmore.
We also have a Medical endowment fund with which we are able to provide medical services to those who may not be able to access quality care at our Medical Center.
New payment system
In the introductory phase of the clinic, the university management subsidized the medical services for students and gave a provision of Kshs. 3,000 for each student. In a bid ensure responsible usage of this amount, students are required to co-pay a small amount of Kshs. 250. This arrangement has brought complaints with students giving feedback that they should not co-pay. However, it is important to note that in the past the university catered for students medical costs and the co-pay system was used to encourage responsibility.
After a lot of deliberation and wide consultations, the medical centre will introduce a medical scheme for students beginning with new students this year (2015). The medical scheme seeks to ensure adequate provision for all the healthcare needs of students, just like is the practice with insurance schemes where one pays a premium annually. Students will therefore be required to pay a medical fee of Kshs. 5000 as part of their school fees yearly; these funds will go towards a medical scheme that will provide medical cover worth kshs.10000. This will ensure that all students can access the high quality medical care when necessary at a reasonable cost.
The medical centre also plans to promote health awareness, health screening and to encourage mental wellness and all facets of wellness for students. This will call for awareness and education of healthy habits from a young age, encouraging a more preventive structure rather than a curative one.
Like every new undertaking, the medical centre has experienced challenges in resources for both personnel and equipment. Funding expansions through donors is an uphill task.
Some of the other challenges include; managing expectations of patients, marketing, and creating a delicate balance between quantity and quality while attending to patients. While the medical centre would like to ensure that many patients are attended to, this cannot be at the expense of quality.
Currently the medical centre is working to increase its partnerships with insurance companies from the three companies already onboard; Clarkson Notcutt Insurance Brokers, Pacis Insurance and UAP.
The next 5-10years
We are optimistic that the centre will grow both in facility-size as well as client-base. The impact to society; a value in Strathmores new strategic plan, entails putting the foundation and plans in place, to prepare the ground of moving the SU Medical Centre from its out-patient facility to a centre of excellence as a teaching, referral and research institute, with the incorporation of a strong aspect of CSR towards the community.