KEMRI and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched a project that will enhance advanced research capabilities in Kenya and on the African continent. The KEMRI-JICA Technical Co-operation Project (TCP) aims at strengthening institutional research capacity for the improvement of human research capabilities in the region.
A kick-off meeting chaired by the Director General, Prof. Sam Kariuki and attended by key project implementation officers from the two institutions was held on Tuesday, 7th, June 2022 at the Training Centre in KEMRI. The meeting which was attended by the Chief Representative of JICA Kenya Mr. Iwama Hajime comes at a time when KEMRI has been mandated to be the Centre of Excellence for Evaluation of COVID-19 Diagnostics in Africa by the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
The project will evolve around three main pillars, aimed at developing both the scientific and non-scientific staff at KEMRI and will be co-ordinated by a team led by Dr. Evans Amukoye, the Project Director and Dr. Muuo Nzou, the Project Manager. Designing a talent development plan and providing specific priority trainings for both scientific and non-scientific staff has been given priority and the Institute will closely monitor its implementation and the impact created.
Prof. Sam Kariuki said that KEMRI and JICA have had an outstanding collaboration and partnership in several projects that have been quite essential in delivering the Institute’s mandate. For instance, the establishment of a Biosafety P3 level laboratory for advanced research activities, Development of a Production Unit and Training Center among others. He stated that this project is a renewed opportunity for KEMRI that will enable its staff get specific, and priority trainings.
According to Watanabe Kozo, TCP Chief Advisor, the creation of a strengthened process of Human Resource will help in the development of Universal Health Care which is a key agenda of the government of Kenya. ”KEMRI will play a leading role in this project and ensure that its objectives are met and a common understanding is reached in as far as Human Resource development is concerned.” He stated adding that the interaction will also lead to a culmination of a maximized interaction with stakeholders. The project will also greatly look into the existing skill gaps and develop a curriculum which will identify the training needs and fill the gap exponentially. The training will not only be of advantage to the institute but also to the region at large because of the networks and partners that will be created in Africa and Japan in medical research.