About HKMU - Vice Chancellor's Foreword

Foreword by the Acting Vice Chancellor

Prof. Godwin Ndossi - Acting Vice Chancellor HKMU
Hastings Rashdall, a British historian, once asserted in one of his many works that the University is heir to traditions that have to be adjusted to the surrounding social environment, and that it must be prepared to change, if it wishes to guarantee its future. In the slightly more than ten years of its existence, Hubert Kairuki Memorial University (HKMU) has undoubtedly lived up to these expectations. Let me elaborate on what I mean by reflecting on the current status of HKMU, on what it is expected to be, and on where it is headed.

HKMU first opened its doors to the public on 27th August, 1997 as a small but dynamic and specialized private African University, with its initial focus on healthcare-related disciplines. At the material time, the major reason for its establishment was to reduce the shortage of healthcare professionals in Tanzania through the training of doctors and nurses at diploma, degree and postgraduate levels. Since Tanzania’s political independence, disease, alongside poverty and ignorance, have been declared as the country’s key enemies; but government as well as civil society and the international community efforts to fight them have not yielded the expected results. Many Tanzanians have been irked by this sad state of affairs, but few individuals, especially in the academic and medical establishments, have taken practical steps to address them.

Among the Tanzanian medics who were incensed by the country’s perennial disease burden, was the late Professor Hubert C.M. Kairuki, formerly Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Dar es Salaam. Following an invitation to give the Dr. Michael Ngirwamungu Guest Lecture at the Annual Scientific Conference and General Meeting of the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) in 1991, Professor Kairuki, then Managing Director of Mission Mikocheni Hospital and President of the Association of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Tanzania (AGOTA), took advantage of the invitation to give what, in his view, constituted a major hurdle in addressing the nation’s problem of disease, which he identified as “The Inadequacy of Medical Doctors’ Training in Tanzania”.

In his presentation, Professor Kairuki surveyed the situation concerning the training of doctors in Tanzania as it existed then and found it wanting. He proceeded to plead with the government of the day, and also with the academic establishment, calling upon them to consider expanding enrolment for medical students at the then Muhimbili College of Health Sciences (MUCHS), and also utilizing the nation’s idle capacity at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), Bugando hospital in Mwanza, and Mbeya government referral hospital in Mbeya, by opening medical schools there, for the training of doctors. Except for Mbeya hospital, the government and the medical establishment implemented Prof. Kairuki’s recommendations almost immediately!

Meantime, being a practical man who believed in what he preached, Professor Kairuki started making preparations for establishing a medical school at his Mikocheni Hospital (MMH), in Dar es Salaam. In 1992, during MMH’s five-year anniversary celebrations, Professor Kairuki announced plans to launch what was to become the Mikocheni International University of Health Sciences (MIUHS). However, acutely aware of the fact that a university is an open, multi-secular, pluricultural institution of higher learning, Professor Kairuki steered away from the idea of a specialized university focusing on the health sciences disciplines alone, thus creating space for the transformation of MIUHS into a broad based University which, at the time of its registration, was named Mikocheni International University (MIU). Thus, when MIU changed its name to Hubert Kairuki Memorial University (HKMU), following its founder’s untimely demise in February 1999, it had already undergone substantial change in its general outlook, although, in essence, it remained, and still remains, a University with a focus on the health science disciplines.

As a specialized institution on the way to becoming a broad-based university, HKMU is increasingly fulfilling its role in society among a constellation of universities in the world, through education and training; through the creation and sharing of knowledge based on research; through the provision of space for substantial critical reflection and debate; through providing the opportunity for young men and women to discover and develop their talents, so that they can be well equipped to make their contribution to their chosen profession; and through the provision of consultancy and other services to society. Moreover, insofar as university education at HKMU addresses one of Tanzania’s, indeed Africa’s perennial problems namely, disease, the education offered in the institution has relevance to and impacts on the real world as a national, regional, indeed, continental development tool.

Already students from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Zambia, Namibia, United Kingdom, and Nigeria have graduated from HKMU, and are rendering healthcare services in their respective countries. In this respect, HKMU prides itself with a number of unique features among its alumni. These include, among others, striving to cultivate excellence in competitiveness, responsiveness, professionalism, ethics, and moral standards, in the training programmes, and also preparing graduates for a globalised market, through encompassing training in information technology (IT) literacy, and entrepreneurship.

Although currently HKMU is a small and specialized private African University, it is expected to become a broad based university in the near future, guided by its statutes, and its vision, which reads as follows:- “The vision of HKMU is to become a model private university in Tanzania, and in Africa; a University that provides the highest quality education, conducts cutting edge research, and provides exemplary service to society”.

It is important to note that HKMU’s vision statement places great emphasis on quality and excellence in all its three major spheres of endeavour, namely teaching, research and service to society. With this vision, HKMU seeks to guarantee its future in a continent characterized by the perennial problems of poverty, hunger, disease and underdevelopment, and in a world haunted by social and political instability, globalization problems, racial, gender, ethnic and religious tensions, as well as the twin problems of global warming and climate change. As such HKMU is poised to develop as a centre of excellence in one or several of the fields that impact on the issues confronting the human race in the 21st century.


Prof. Godwin Ndossi
Acting Vice Chancellor
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