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The 5th Edition of the KEMRI-JICA Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) was officially opened by the Principal Secretary, State Department of Medical Services, Mr. Harry Kimtai, this Monday 30th October, 2023 at the KEMRI Graduate School, Training Centre in Nairobi.
The training themed, ‘Strengthening laboratory preparedness for building resilience against public health emergencies in Eastern Africa,’ aim at strengthening health systems to enhance resilience, sustainability and inclusiveness that promote quality health systems for quality life. The training was scheduled to coincide with the commemoration of 60 years of Japan Kenya collaboration in the healthcare sector.
The ceremony was also graced by H.E. Ken. Okaniwa, Ambassador of Japan to Kenya, Dr. Abdullahi Ali, Chairman Board of Directors and fellow directors, Dr. Damaris Maweu, Dr. Tom Sewe, Dr. Rebecca Kiptui, Luca Chemwolo, Veronica Okoth, Faith Karimi and Prof. Elijah Songok, Ag. Director General.
JICA Country Representative, Mr. Iwama Hajime also graced the occasion whose masters of ceremonies was Ag. Director, Research and Development, Prof. Nelly Mugo.
TCTP is a meticulously designed annual training initiative, facilitated in partnership with the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) that provides invaluable platform for individuals in the field of healthcare to enhance their skills, exchange best practices, and keep abreast of the latest advancements in medical science in Kenya and beyond.
In his remarks, Amb. Okaniwa appreciated the partnership between KEMRI and JICA in the health sector that spans to over six decades of unwavering commitment and shared goals. “Allow me to appreciate the cordial working relationship that we have cultivated with KEMRI over the years,” he said. “We look forward to nurturing an even more robust and enduring partnership that continues to bring tangible benefits to the people of Kenya, strengthening healthcare, and advancing the cause of better health and healthcare landscape,” emphasized Amb. Okaniwa.
His sentiments were echoed by the PS Medical Services who highlighted the significance of a strengthened health care system to people of its people. “The Government, through the Ministry continues to stress the need to strengthen institutions and build national and local capacities by reinforcing capable, efficient, responsible transparent and equitable health systems for the improvement of essential service delivery, promote research and development, and developing the capacity of health services. TCTP training will not only strengthen the capacity of laboratory managers and related personnel who play a major role in preparedness and response to various disease outbreaks and public health emergencies in countries in the Eastern Africa region but will also foster stronger partnerships and operationalize networks and information sharing among these countries,” he explained.
On his part, Dr. Abdullahi Ali affirmed JICA’s close partnership with KEMRI in building human capital and modern research infrastructure that is pivotal in responding to outbreaks in Kenya. “JICA continues to collaborate with KEMRI through technical cooperation such as SATREPS Project (2012-2017) and grant in infrastructure and capacity development through workshops and short courses,” he elucidated, adding,“ through the Partnership for Building Resilience against Public Health Emergencies through Advanced Research and Education (PREPARE) JICA is strengthening institutional capacity in five African Research Institutes including KEMRI in Kenya”. He further stated that the Institute is committed in improving the quality of life of not only, Kenyan people, but also communities from the region through such training initiatives.
Prof. Elijah Songok in his opening remarks recognized JICA’s remarkable impact on the Institute over the years especially on the professional and individual growth of KEMRI staff. “JICA has been instrumental in the infrastructural and critical human resource mass that has spurred the growth of the Institute and we are grateful for this fruitful friendship,” said Prof. Songok who added that TCTP training was being held at a time when the world is recording many health challenges that require adequate preparedness. “Participants will be well equipped with skills that would be relevant in the diverse positions they hold back in their institutions in their various countries,” he said.
This year’s TCTP training attracted 13 participants from 10 African Countries namely; Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Madagascar, Seychelles, Tanzania and hosts Kenya making a valuable platform for cross border knowledge exchange and collaboration. The training program will run for one month, equipping participants with essential skills for addressing diverse health challenges in their respective countries.