Methodist Church has been a caring church since its inception and places a strong emphasis on education and healing ministries besides carrying out its core aim of providing spiritual nourishment. The Church formalized its concern for the sick in the 1920s with the establishment of Maua Methodist Hospital in Meru North and later Ngao Hospital, [currently owned by the government], in Tana River District.
The Church supports wholistic theology inclusive of full development of body, mind and soul. Consequently, it has outreach and development activities all over the country. The Programme collaborates with existing church projects under Rural and Urban development.
The Health Programme offers a wide range of health services covering large areas of Kenya plus mission areas in Tanzania and Uganda. Priority is given to those areas with limited access to health care services, which are characterized by poor incomes and infrastructure.
Existing Health Activities
The overall aim of the programme is to enable individuals and families within the areas served by the Methodist Church in Kenya to experience the fullness of life which, Christ came to bring (John 10:10) by promoting physical, mental, spiritual and social health. The health activities of MCK are coordinated from the Conference Office by the Conference Health Coordinator and in collaboration with Conference Health Committees with representation from all the 10 Synods of the Church.
The church has incorporated HIV/AIDS advocacy, support and care of the infected and affected persons in the society. These activities are carried out throughout the Connexion and coordinated by the HIV/AIDS Coordinator who is currently based in Meru region.
Methodit Church has established the following health projects covering different parts of Kenya:
• Maua Methodist hospital and Palliative Care projects, Meru North
• Kenya Methodist University (KEMU) health programme, Meru
• Mariene Methodist Clinic, Meru
• Laari HIV/AIDS programme, Meru
• Kamwathu Clinic and Community projects, Tharaka
• Maburwa Community health project, Meru
• Kiandegwa Health Centre, Mwea, Embu
• Embu Mission Health Community Project, Eastern Kenya
• Kibera and Ngong Methodist Churchs HIV/AIDS projects
• Itibo Dispensary, Kisii
• Igena Bamako Initiative, Kisii
• Shankoe Methodist Clinic, Transmara
• Enoretet Bamako Initiative, Transmara
• St. Paul Methodist Medical Clinic, Ugunja, Siaya
• Kilifi Orphan Project, Coast region
• Shirikisho Women Health project, Garsen, Lower Tana River
• HIV/AIDS Programme in Primary Schools and Colleges in Kaaga and Mombasa
Maua Methodist Hospital was established in 1928 and has developed into a modern 230-bed referral hospital serving a population of about 600,000 people in Meru North.
Through its Community Health Department, the hospital is actively involved in HIV/AIDS prevention, palliative and home based care projects. These are:
• Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) of HIV/AIDS in collaboration with Christian Health Association of Kenya was started at the same time with the Orphan project in 2001.
• Palliative care project in the hospital, churches and community.
• Community owned palliative care projects by the Churches in collaboration with Maua Hospital, which were started in 2002. The lessons learned from these pilot projects will be replicated throughout the Connexion.
• Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) centres.
• Formation of support groups e.g. widows and widowers.
Maua Hospital has a Registered Community Health Nursing school that trains students from all over the Connexion and has proved to be one of the best training institutions in East Africa.
KEMU was established in 1997 and has 600 students and 150 members of staff. This institution has a Health centre and HIV/AIDS programme with Voluntary Counseling and Testing centre. The centre also serves the students and the surrounding community. KEMU is also offering a bachelor of nursing degree course.
All the above Methodist Health Units (MHUs) are managed by the Health and Church management committees and report to their respective Bishops and Superintendent ministers.
The Health Programme also focuses on building the capacity of the existing health workers, church ministers and counselors to better respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Using its extensive network, the Church is already making a major contribution towards the National Primary Health Care Programme by integrating Primary Health Care activities with its traditional spiritual nurture.
Related Activities and Programmes
The health programme works in full collaboration with the following departments within the Methodist Church in Kenya:
• Rural and Urban Development including agriculture and water.
• Women Fellowship, Men Fellowship and Youth
• Synods, Circuits and Congregational Health committees.
Through the conference office, Methodist Church has established links with other Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) through the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and is an active member of the Christian Health Association of Kenya (CHAK). MCK and CHAK have worked closely with Chapelwood Mission team in organizing medical camps and construction of a modern Health Centre at Kiandegwa.
MCK, KEMU and CHAK have collaborated in the training of 17 Voluntary Counseling and Testing Counselors from 9 Synods.
MCK and Kenya Medical Mission (KMM) have collaborated in yearly medical camps, dental care, oral hygiene and evangelism in Western Kenya and the Coast regions.
MCK is committed to:
• Contribute to wholistic ministry of the Church through Primary Health Care activities in conjunction with the ministry of health and other FBOs.
• Sustainable health and community development projects at the grass roots levels.
• Improve access to Voluntary Counselling and Testing in all the MCK health institutions and the Synods, Circuits and Churches.
• Scale up palliative care, access to ARVs and Promote the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS.
• Scale up health activities in Maua Hospital and include the construction of a Trauma Centre.
• Strengthening existing activities in all the MCK Health units and undertake to offer more health services to the communities.
• Strengthening our partnership with CHAK and Mission Teams.