Deputy President H.E Rigathi Gachagua Commissions World Class Laboratory Facilities in Kericho

Pomp and colour greeted Deputy President H.E Rigathi Gachagua as he officially inaugurated the Biosafety Level Three Reference laboratory and the Molecular Laboratory at the KEMRI Kericho Clinical Research Centre on 16th October 2023.

The Chairman of the KEMRI Board of Directors, Dr. Abdullahi Ali and Ag. Director General, Prof. Elijah Songok warmly welcomed an elated Deputy President and his entourage that included the Cabinet Secretary of Health, Nakhumicha S. Wafula and Kericho Counter Governor, Prof. Eric Mutahi and his Bomet counterpart, H.E Dr. Hillary Barchok into one of the Institute’s state of the art facilities.

The highly specialized first and only College of American Pathologist (CAP) accredited laboratory in Kenya is a welcomed addition to KEMRI’s national research infrastructure not just for Kenya, but the entire region. The BSL 3 laboratory serve as a national TB reference laboratory and support specialized TB testing for culture, identification, drug susceptibility testing for first-line, second line and third line TB drugs. The platform is instrumental in addressing the emerging and re-emerging infections in the country including COVID-19 and Ebola among other health challenges.

DP, H.E Rigathi makes his remarks at the Kericho county hospital shortly after inaugurating and touring the KEMRI-WRP BSL3 and Molecular Labs
Dr. Fredrick Sewe, Director, KEMRI WRP, Kericho Station explains to H.E Gachagua and delegation about the molecular laboratory

Addressing members of public shortly after inauguration of the facilities, the Deputy President was happy with work done by KEMRI and her partners in supporting the health infrastructure and creation of a good environment for the achievements and delivery of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“I am impressed with the KEMRI Facility which is benefiting not only the neighbouring counties but the nation at large. I believe that this laboratory is going to make a big difference in contribution to healthcare,” said animated Deputy President Gachagua.

A proud Cabinet Secretary of Health underscored the collaborative relationship between the Institute and the county government noting that they not only work seamlessly, but the Kericho County Referral Hospital is embedded next to KEMRI laboratories. “The Kericho County Referral Hospital is able to access the highest quality of diagnostics services from the KEMRI facilities, a product of a strong collaboration and partnerships that actualize and strengthen UHC,”, said the Cabinet Secretary.

Her sentiments were shared by the Ag. Director General, Prof. Elijah Songok, “our direct contribution to UHC is our focus on the four essential pillars encompassing health products and technologies, digitization, human resource for health and health financing.”

In addition to TB work, the Kericho Clinical Research Centre is involved in search for diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines against infectious diseases such as HIV, Ebola, and  support for PEPFAR activities, Clinical Research at the site and capacity building for partner facilities towards accreditation.

Dr. Daud Ibrahim, Laboratory Director at KEMRI Kericho Clinical Research Centre takes the delegation led by H.E Gachagua through the BSLR 3 Laboratory.
H.E Rigathi Gachagua makes some remarks during his visit to KEMRI Kericho.

The KEMRI-WRP also provides care and treatment services across the South Rift Valley, extending, into Kisumu West and encompassing a strong military-to-civilian collaboration with the Kenya Defence Forces. With the catchment area that is nearly about 4 million people and a robust partnership with over 400 health facilities, this site contributes significantly towards the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“KEMRI laboratories are the best you can get in the region. The research work they do have been important in advancing the UHC agenda in Kericho County,” stated the Governor Kericho County, Prof Eric Mutahi.

The DP was accompanied by Bomet County Governor, H.E Dr. Hillary Barchok, Director General Ministry of Health Dr. Partrick Amoth, PS State Department for Medical Services, Mr. Harry Kimtai and PS for Public Health and Professional Standards, Ms. Mary Kariuki among others.

Present from the KEMRI team was Board Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Ali, Board Director, Luka Chemwolo, Director Research and Development, Prof. Nelly Mugo, Dr. Fredrick Sewe and Dr. Daud Ibrahim, KEMRI Kericho lead director and laboratory director respectively.

DG. Prof. Elijah Songok introduces KEMRI – WRP team to the Deputy President,
H.E Rigathi signs the visitor’s book at the KEMRI – Kericho Station flanked by among other MoH CS, Nakhumicha S. Wafula, Board Chair, Dr. Abdullahi ALI and ag. DG Prof. Elijah Songok.