Over 200 individuals recently obtained diplomas and degrees in health sciences from Amref International University, AMIU.
The 221 graduates were among those who participated in the university’s third graduation ceremony.
Also, the university conferred master’s degrees to their first cohort of post-graduate students.
The graduation ceremony was held on the university’s main campus grounds, along Lang’ata Road, Nairobi.
It was a day of glamour and color as students, guardians and the university congregated to recognize the hard work exhibited by the learners.
Weak health systems
The Faculty of Health Sciences proves vital as Africa grapples with a worrying, heavy and troublesome disease burden and weak health systems.
Addressing the congregation, the University’s Chancellor and former president of the Republic of Botswana, Festus Mogae, encouraged graduands to help find solutions to the many challenges facing the region.
“The solutions will not come from anywhere. Africa must look for its own solutions to its health problems.
Our graduates are well prepared for this and we are confident they will lead the change, which is very much needed, in the health sector,” he said.
Chancellor Mogae also retaliated that addressing aspects of diversity and inclusion and Primary health care is the leeway to achieving universal health care in Africa.
Addressing the attendees during the event, the Treasurer, AMIU Board of trustees and Amref Health Africa GCEO, Dr. Githinji Gitahi, echoed the centrality of a well-equipped health force.
He explained that Africa has an estimated shortage of 4 million health workers, the largest globally.
This shortage has been well-exposed through the covid-19 pandemic.
Moreover, there is a massive gap between the training and what is needed.
The fourth industrial revolution is shaping how society and community consume information and service in the democratic arena.
Many more issues, such as the emergence and re-emergence of diseases and the climate change factor, have altered the process of dealing with different challenges.
“We cannot hope to solve the problems of the future with the approaches of the past,” said the Amref GCEO.
On the flip, it is a remarkable milestone for AMIU, based on the fact that it was launched in 2017.
In 2021 the university graduated its first cohort of bachelor’s degrees in health sciences; this year, its first cohort of master’s students graduated.
Students drawn from various African countries such as Kenya, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Cameroon and many more are making the university realize its focus on going international and diverse in bridging the gap on health matters.
“The diversity keeps the Pan-African identity; we must develop health workers unlimited from their borders,” said the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joachim Osur.
Forthright infrastructural development is a major boost to the institution.
The Council chairperson, Muthoni Kuria, applauded Amref Health Africa, through the board of trustees, for having secured 50 acres of land for the main infrastructural site along Thika Road.
The new development will favor AMIU in meeting high education requirements.
“This will help facilitate the university to meet the Commission of Education’s requirements for adequate space for physical infrastructure,” said Ms Kuria.
She also noted that the university hopes to achieve financial stability within the current strategic plan.
“We remain optimistic about growing in research and extension programs.”
Osur also revealed that the university has laid out its five-year strategic plan for 2022-2027 to strengthen its services.
He noted that the main focus will be primary health care which caters for 80% of Africans.
In addition, the plan will look at establishing student-led learning by doing away with passive learning.
The university aims to help students gain more skills and prepare them for the market demand through integrated learning.
Considerable gains are a result of the significant support from Amref Health Africa in different capacities.
The Europe and North America Offices represented by Camilla Knox-Peebles have played a significant role in a fundraising initiative for the university.
In response, more quality training in health, building a health force for now and the future, is being achieved.
Equally, open, distant and e-learning approaches are being integrated as learning modes to reach international students.
The initiative is a game-changer in advancing health education.
“For two semesters, I have successfully delivered two modules to students without setting foot in Nairobi, staying in Pretoria,” said Boniface Hlabano, head of programs in South Africa.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught nations to stand tall against emerging health outbreaks.
“With more change-makers, health care sector is well prepared, resourceful, and flexible enough to absorb any disruptive health events,” said Mr. Morrish Ojok, head of programs in South Sudan.
He further asserted that this is the first line of defense of primary health care service.
Determined to end health inequalities, Ms. Ann Njogu, Chair of AMIU student council appealed to her fellow comrades to make a difference in Africa.
Africa should not rely on others when it comes to protecting the lives and health of Africans.
“We must make Africa our business,” she said.
Her sentiments were echoed by Ms. Ivy Adhiambo who encouraged adapting to changing environments and standing strong to face adversity if victory is the primary goal.
She spoke to the congregation as she gave her valedictory speech as the best student.
AMIU is a Premier Pan-African University of health sciences owned by Amref Health Africa.
The institution focuses on training, research and extension in promotive, preventive, rehabilitative and palliative health.