The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and Kenyatta University agreed to work together in building a biomedical engineering programme at the university. Speaking at the meeting, after a series of consultations with management of Kenyatta University, Ms Aida Opoku-Mensah, the Director, ICT, Science and Technology Division (ISTD) at UNECA, said “I am impressed by the enthusiasm, speed, commitment and seriousness that the team at Kenyatta University have demonstrated in pursuing the implementation of the Biomedical Engineering Initiative.”
She told the gathering that “UNECA recognizes the importance of science and technology in Africa’s development agenda. She emphasized: “Science, technology and innovation offers the great opportunities to countries, firms and institutions that seek to meet their own development challenges and those that seek realize the immense opportunities the continent presents. This biomedical engineering initiative is one of our efforts to help Africa to meet its own health needs and industrialization.”
The UNECA led biomedical engineering initiative is based on an integrated and sustainable model. The initiative helps institutions to: 1) build the technical and professional capacity needed to generate biomedical engineers, 2) offer short-term training to upgrade the capacity of technicians, 3) stimulate innovation, creativity and problem-solving skills through an international design competition and 4) host summer schools of innovative and entrepreneurial students.
During the meeting, it was agreed that UNECA will provide technical support to enable the schools of medicine and engineering complete the preparation of the Biomedical Engineering Curriculum in time, assess manpower needs and help identify the facilities required. In addition, UNECA will support the training of at least two PhD candidates and one staff development candidate at the Masters level.
The University has offered to host the summer school as it has accommodation facilities for researchers and students, good conference facilities and a new Post Modern Library with a sitting capacity of 6000 people, private study areas and a growing digital collection of research materials and student dissertations.
Speaking at the same event, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor John Okumu, expressed his gratitude at the support of UNECA. He stated that “the initiative has come at an opportune time as the school of engineering and the school of medicine are undergoing serious expansion and one of the main challenges is the lack of professionals to install, maintain and upgrade equipment”. He also noted that the country is moving very fast and the university needs to keep pace or risk becoming redundant.
Speaking earlier, the Dean of the School of Engineering, Dr. Shadrack Maina Mambo, informed the gathering that provisional accreditation has been obtained for mechanical, civil and electrical engineering, and that a meeting of key stakeholders had been convened to look at the biomedical engineering curriculum. He stated that “the team is working around the clock to meet the target of getting the first students enrolled in 2013”. He noted that biomedical engineering will also offer students another alternative carrier opportunity and attract female students to engineering.
Source: CSR Africa. Net – 9 Feb 2012