The University of Nairobi (UoN) recently made changes to the fees structure of its Master of Medicine (MMed) program after engaging in discussions with the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU).

In 2021, UoN implemented a fee adjustment for their postgraduate and parallel degree programs, raising the average annual fees from Sh275,000 to over Sh600,000. This decision prompted the KMPDU to take legal action.

The KMPDU voiced concerns that the sudden 200 percent fee increase would hinder access to affordable healthcare for Kenyans. They emphasized that such a drastic change could negatively impact fee compliance, reporting rates, continuity, and completion rates, particularly for students with prior financial commitments. Moreover, they feared that young Kenyan doctors would be deprived of quality education due to the elevated costs.

Furthermore, the KMPDU highlighted the significant contributions made by Master's students to the provision of clinical services at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and their involvement in training undergraduate students through apprenticeship during Registrars' rounds.

Following extensive negotiations between the University of Nairobi's Vice Chancellor, Stephen Kiama, and KMPDU Secretary General, Davji Atella, an agreement was reached to implement a gradual increase in medical fees. Under the terms of the agreement, students who enrolled at the university in the academic years 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 will be required to pay Sh247,000 per year, reflecting a 14.4 percent increase from the previous amount of Sh216,000.

Likewise, students joining the institution in the 2022/2023 academic year will experience a 60 percent fee increase, with fees rising from Sh216,000 to Sh345,000 for the first year.

To address concerns raised, the fees will decrease by 13 percent from Sh345,000 in the first part to Sh300,000 in the second part. Consequently, the cost of three-year programs will progressively increase from Sh945,000 to Sh1.9 million for six-year programs, according to the agreement.

Additionally, a select group of Master's students will participate in tutoring undergraduate students on a rotational basis, guided by their lecturers during the 2023/2024 academic year.

"In order to accommodate this arrangement, the departments will revise the curriculum to include Academic Recess starting from the 2023/2024 Academic Year. Each student, on a rotational basis, will be granted two months of academic recess in the form of elective terms every year."

"These elective terms may be pursued in a private hospital, where students can earn credits. The activities undertaken during the elective term will be supervised by a qualified consultant, and a logbook will be maintained to facilitate evaluation," states the agreement.