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Birth of Strategic Partnership between KEMRI & Military

(L-R) Ag. DG Prof. Elijah Songok, BoD Chair Dr. Abdullahi Ali, Ag. DG MoH, Dr. Partrick Amoth, PS MoD, Mr. Partrick Mariru, VCDF Lt. Gen. Jonah Mwangi, and DMS Maj. Gen. Dr. George Ng’ang’a with copies of the MoU

KEMRI and the Ministry of Defense have put pen to paper on a new research partnership that is addressing common interests to strengthen surveillance, disease outbreak preparedness and capacity building in national pathogen control, emergency response and disease prevention.

The new partnership has potential to not only transform the healthcare in the country, but also has a national security aspect because of respective mandates of the players. The signing ceremony took place at the MoD Headquarters, Nairobi in the afternoon of Tuesday, 16th, January 2024, was officiated by the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Defense (MoD), Mr Patrick Mariru, Ag. DG Ministry of Health (MoH), Dr. Partrick Amoth on behalf of PS, Harry Kimtai and KEMRI Board Chair Dr. Abdullahi Ali. It was witnessed by Ag. DG, Prof. Elijah Songok.

Others present at the Department of Defence Headquarters, were the Vice Chief of Defence Forces (VCDF) Lieutenant General Jonah Mwangi, Director of Medical Services (DMS) at the Defence Headquarters, Major General Dr. George Ng’ang’a among others.

DG MoH, Dr. Partrick Amoth and PS MoD, Mr. Partrick Mariru exchange the documents

The collaboration includes aspects on public health emergency preparedness, biomedical research and innovation, and the establishment of a mobile laboratory concept. According to the MoU, the military’s logistical prowess will be instrumental in complementing KEMRI’s research and healthcare expertise, ensuring a coordinated and effective response to crisis including hard-to-reach areas.

“I am pleased to be here, I believe together we can strengthen the countries’ disease surveillance and control especially those from cross- border transmission, this marks a new dawn for our Institutions in ensuring the good health and safety of our people,” animated MoD PS, Mr. Partrick Mariru.

Sentiments that were shared by Dr. Patrick Amoth, “this MoU holds immense promise for the future of healthcare and security in the country. It is a testament to the commitment of both entities to the well-being of Kenyan citizens”.

Capacity building features is a critical element for both Institutions creating emphasis on personnel exchange programs, educational initiatives between the KEMRI Graduate School and the National Defence University- Kenya. This strategic alliance will facilitate comprehensive training programs, knowledge exchange, and skill development for our healthcare professionals within the military and research community.

In addition, the collaboration will include the development of an MSc course on Biosecurity and Biodefense at the KEMRI Graduate School, leveraging on the academic rigor of KEMRI’s Graduate School and the specialized expertise of the National Defense University.

DG MoH, Dr. Partrick Amoth signs the MoU (in frame is Dr, Mariciannah Onono)
Board Chair, Dr. Abdullahi Ali signs the MoU
Ag. DG Prof Elijah Songok Signs the MoU. In the frame is Dr. Mariciannah Onono and Prof. Wallace Bulimo

“This MOU creates a pathway for synergies, ensuring that our professionals within the military and research community are not only equipped to address current health challenges but are also prepared for the evolving landscape of future threats. Together, we will cultivate a cadre of experts capable of navigating the intersection of medical research, military strategy, and public health, thus fortifying the foundation of our nation’s security and KEMRI and MOD Partnership resilience,” stated Prof. Songok.

On his part, the Board Chair, Dr. Abdullahi Ali affirmed the Institute’s commitment to this venture, noting, “the signing of this MoU, symbolizes the commitment of KEMRI to advancing scientific research in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence. As the board, senior management and on behalf of our teams at KEMRI we look forward to building, sharing and learning from and with the Ministry of Defence, we hope this collaboration makes both our Institutions stronger for the benefit of a more resilient Kenya”.

The KEMRI Team included, Ag. Director Scientific Programes, Partnerships and Grants Management, Dr. Mariciannah Onono, Ag. Director Research and Development, Prof. Nelly Mugo, Ag. Director Research Capacity Building, Dr. Martin Bundi and Head Department of Epidemiology, Statistics and Informatics (DESI), Prof. Wallace Bulimo and Ag. Deputy Director Corporate Communications, Mr. James Wodera.

PS MoD, Mr. Partrick Mariru appends his signature on the MoU
Teams from MoD, MoH, and KEMRI pose for a photo
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