THE STAR THAT RADIATES HOPE IN EAST AFRICAN HEALTH SECTOR

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As the pioneering institution in the East African region to offer medical Engineering courses, TUM attracts experts from all walks of the world to deliberate on the evolution of the Medical Engineering discipline within the region and beyond.

On 24th August 2021, a delegation from The Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID), paid a courtesy call to Technical University of Mombasa
on the same.

CBID is a joint effort of the Whiting School of Engineering and the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. It focuses on translational engineering on matters of health care technology. It’s an institution that’s running its programs by combining clinical immersion, travel to developing countries for global health immersion, state-of-the-art facilities, and world-renowned lecturers to inspire students to deliver real innovation. 

Although TUM and CBID share similar teaching techniques and are both identified for research and innovation in the field of Engineering and Technology, plus the impact their students have made around the world, there exists a huge contrast between the two institutions in terms of technology. TUM has a long way to go, keeping in mind the Kenya government has never invested in any medical equipment manufacturing company. Hence students can not get any real-time experience and technology proto-type from the designs. Technical support and commercialization of the innovation. 

 Addressing the meeting with the Johns Hopkins delegates, TUM’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academic Research & Extension, Prof. Gichangi highlighted, that the Medical Engineering Department will be a servicing department for the upcoming School of Medicine. Its curriculum is at a later stage of approval by the Commission of University Education (CUE). The school will be affiliated with the Coast province General Hospital. 

He highlighted the collaborations TUM has with overseas universities, like Ghent University, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Vrije’ Universitet Brussel (VUB), Alexandria-Egypt, Switzerland, and many others who have a students exchange program. 

Unlike Electrical Engineering, Medical Engineering uptake is low, which is attributed to the type of equipment the department has, and the high cost of maintenance of most of the equipment. It has proved to be very expensive to run the program for maintaining equipment like diagnostic, analytical and sterilization systems is a bit costly. The government funding for the sponsored student is still insufficient. Currently, TUM relies on linkages and partnerships for equipment and technical supportWe are not changing in technology as the West does, and we always look into collaborating with the institutions from the developed economies for lecturer and student exchange programs to ensure we offer knowledge that is up to date with technology and for the possible equipment donation. Noted, Prof. Gichangi.

 TUM Medical Engineers are at the forefront, helping the government achieve one of the crucial agendas in the Big 4 Agenda of acquiring universal healthcare. This was possible by elevating the hospitals at the grass root to higher levels by equipping them with machines like MRI, ICU machines, dialysis machines, and oxygen plants. Apart from offering technical expertise in major hospitals in East Africa through private-public sector partnership likes of Medical Engineer - Edward Mwagore – an alumnus of TUM, led teams of Medical Engineers in the installation and maintenance of those particular machines at the county hospitals and the major national referral hospitals in Kenya. His prowess in Medical Engineering bagged him a Chief Technologist position in Kenyatta National Hospital and Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam- Tanzania.

 “Am so proud of our products and the impact they have in the health sector. They make a better part of Medical Engineers in East Africa. You can never mention Medical Engineering without mentioning TUM. The fact that TUM is responsible for the birth and nurturing of the Association of Medical Engineers of Kenya (AMEK) says it all.” said the Chairman of TUMs Department of Medical Engineering- Mr. Stephen Mwangi.

AMEK is a professional registered association which was constituted to promote and enhance professional and raise recognition and development of members’ profession and practice of related disciplines in health care technology.