The collaboration began with a new programme in medicine. Kenya’s ministry of health wanted to begin such a programme at Moi University, the country’s second public university. The pedagogy was to be the very latest, so they turned to Linköping University, which had received attention worldwide with its new pedagogical model: problem-based learning.
“A delegation from Kenya arrived at Linköping University on Midsummer Eve, 1989. The agreement was written, and then LiU helped them set up the medicine programme. And it continued from there”, says Kerstin Hawkins, head of internationalisation at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
With the medicine programme up and running, the two universities developed an exchange programme. Over the years, students and teachers have spent time at the other university, to expand their professional perspectives – a total of 385 students and 250 teachers. Initially it was students and teachers from the medicine programme, but subsequently, the collaboration and exchange were extended to programmes such as nursing and physiotherapy, as well as education. There is also collaboration at the research level.
“Our next goal is an agreement for biomedicine”, says Kerstin Hawkins.
The celebrations in April at Moi University will include a number of symposiums and workshops.
“LiU has lots of contacts and exchanges all over the world, but in my experience, such long-standing collaborations are unusual. The key to success in this case is that we really have a mutual exchange of knowledge, where both parties learn from one another.”
Kerstin Hawkins gives a few examples: the Swedish medical students’ theoretical knowledge is put to the test at the Kenyan clinics, when they lack access to various technical aids. They come up against different disease panoramas, from which they learn a great deal. The same applies to the teachers from LiU health sciences programmes. They meet patients with diseases and problems they would otherwise never have encountered. And the Kenyan students and teachers learn about collaboration across professional boundaries, as well as about healthcare processes and patient security.
The delegation will also include representatives from Region Östergötland, which has its own agreements with Moi University, as well as the County Administrative Board and Norrköping Municipality.
Translation: Martin Mirko