KEMRI and Kenya BioVax Institute (KBI) signed an MoU that hopes to pave way to new scales and opportunities in vaccine manufacturing, supply security and capacity building in Kenya.
The MoU signing ceremony that took place on 31st August, 2023 at the KEMRI Centre in Kilifi, enables KEMRI and KBI to partner in research and production of human vaccines, as a long-term measure to ensure Kenya becomes self-sufficient in its vaccine and building security of supply.
The meeting was attended by Board of Directors (BOD) from KEMRI, KBI and senior management staff from both institutions. The KEMRI delegation was led by Chairman Dr. Abdullahi Ali, Board Members Dr. Tom Sewe, Dr. Damaris Maweu and Mr. Christopher Marwa and Ag. Director General Prof. Elijah Songok while Chairman Mr. Mugo Kibati and Director General Dr. Michael Lusiola graced the ceremony on behalf of KBI.
KEMRI Board of Directors Chairman, Dr Ali revealed that the government was working tirelessly to ensure that the
country is able to develop and produce its own vaccines, and this has been informed by the aftermath of COVID-19, where African countries struggled to get COVID-19 vaccines on time. He added that GAVI (Global Vaccine Initiative) the organization that has been supporting Kenya and other countries to access affordable vaccines for their Immunization programs shall cease support from 2027, hence a dire need for Kenya to be independent.
Speaking at the same event, KEMRI Ag. Director General Elijah Songok highlighted that the MoU is in line with the governments agenda of advancing the economic pillar of local manufacturing and the development objective on Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Sentiments that were echoed by his Biovax counterpart Dr. Michael Lusiola who said that KEMRI will provide technical advice to Biovax on potential health products and technologies production in response to forecasted epidemics and pandemics, and enable technical and operational knowledge exchange and capacity building opportunities.
The local vaccine production is set to support the National and Regional economic growth, National security, healthcare and capacity to control future epidemics. This therefore marks a new journey for KEMRI and KBI in advancing its commitment in working towards advancing Universal Health Coverage.