Pictured (left to right) - Jose Rojas, PhD, RRT, RPFT, FAARC, Lemuel Aigbivbalu, MD, Jordie Chalupnik, Friends of Maua Hospital Board Member, Laurie Farroni, DPT, PT, PCS, Kathleen Murphy, DNP, RN,
Matthew Dacso, MD, MSc, Carlos Dostal, MD, Ph.D, Eddie Salazar, PhD, MLS, and Robert Rodriguez, PhD, MPH. Not pictured: Michael Goodman, MDiv, MPH, DrPH, Lauren Raimer-Goodman, MD

Department of Global Health & Emerging DiseasesIn the News

Working Together to Improve Access to Healthcare in Rural Kenya

On October 30th, 2023, the UTMB Department of Global Health and Emerging Diseases welcomed Justus Marete, Chief Executive Officer of Maua Methodist Hospital (MMH), to discuss collaborative efforts in improving community health and increasing access to healthcare in Maua, Kenya. We were joined by Jose Rojas, PhD, RRT, RPFT, FAARC, Lemuel Aigbivbalu, MD, Jordie Chalupnik, Friends of Maua Hospital Board Member, Laurie Farroni, DPT, PT, PCS, Kathleen Murphy, DNP, RN, Matthew Dacso, MD, MSc, Carlos Dostal, MD, Ph., Michael Goodman, MDiv, MPH, DrPH, Lauren Raimer-Goodman, MD, Eddie Salazar, PhD, MLS, and Robert Rodriguez, PhD, MPH.

Located roughly 275 km from the capital city of Nairobi, Maua Methodist Hospital is a 230-bed regional referral hospital that was established in 1928 and now serves a population of roughly 600,000 people in the Meru District of Kenya. In recent years, a growing number of collaborations between the UTMB School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, the School of Health Professions, and the School of Public and Population Health have been brought to bear on improving health in Maua, making MMH one of UTMB’s signature sites for interprofessional education and research.


Justus Marete, Chief Executive Officer Maua Methodist Hospital

Justus Marete joined Maua Methodist Hospital as CEO in February 2019. Before joining the Maua team, he was the Director of the Africa BethanyKids organization, Executive Director of AIC Kijabe Hospital, and Deputy Director of Administrative Services at Kenyatta National Hospital. His current work focuses on enabling Maua Methodist Hospital to play a significant role in the national pursuit of universal healthcare coverage and increasing the impact of its medical ministry of healing in surrounding communities.

The UTMB Global Health team hosted a meeting with Mr. Marete to determine how we can continue strengthening our partnership with Maua Methodist Hospital while supporting public health and community outreach efforts within its catchment area. Justus identified that the leading issues in Maua area include a lack of access to basic primary medical care, increased mortality from preventable conditions, and low enrollment/retention in the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), a challenge faced by numerous rural communities in Kenya.


Dr. Michael Goodman

Known for being a trade hub for the stimulant plant “miraa,” Maua faces unique and complex health challenges both in the hospital and in the surrounding communities. Affordability of health insurance, access to and use of health care services, and medical literacy are among the barriers that contribute to these health system challenges. In response, in 2022 the NHIF established the “NHIF Supacova” program, a universal health coverage plan designed to provide access to health services without financial hardship.


Mr. Justus Marete & Dr. Matthew Dacso

Dr. Matthew Dacso, Associate Professor and Chair, ad interim, Department of Global Health & Emerging Diseases, champions multidisciplinary initiatives and has a long history of collaborating with global healthcare systems. As a global health practitioner, Dr. Dacso believes that community health needs in rural Kenya are a public health priority that the UTMB Global Health team can respond to on a long-term continuum. Says Dacso, “when we listen partners like Justus, and our institutional engagement is guided by their needs, this sets us up to be able to make a meaningful contribution to their work and move the needle on improving health and addressing health inequities in a sustainable, respectful way.”

The Department of Global Health and Emerging Diseases is dedicated to working alongside partners to create resilient health systems that support health promotion and improve health for all.  The Department offers international opportunities for UTMB faculty and students to participate in health promotion, health policy, and systems strengthening as well as clinical care efforts. UTMB has a strong cohort of compassionate health professionals and proficient public health practitioners who are working together to improve health equity in rural Kenya.

The UTMB Global Health team is committed to working in solidarity with Justus Marete and his team to support efforts within Maua Methodist Hospital and beyond. By joining forces with other organizations dedicated to Maua such as Sodzo International and the Friends of Maua Hospital, we can work together to increase long-term public health engagements among rural communities in Kenya. By engaging an interprofessional group of students and faculty, the UTMB Global Health team will assist Justus by supporting health screening, promoting enrollment in the NHIF, and improving community health and trust.  And in so doing, we hope to help Maua move closer to achieving health equity for all.