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Promise of Good Tidings As JICA’s Senior Vice President Visit to KEMRI

From(L-R), JICA Vice President, Mr. Naoki Ando gives his speech as Dr. Martin Bundi listens at the meeting

The cordial relationship between the Institute and her long-term collaborator, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) received fresh impetus following last week’s tour by the Senior Vice President, Mr. Naoki Ando.

The visit by the second in command at JICA Kenya to discuss current and future collaborations that bolster research and public health capacity in the country and the region.

Upon the arrival of Ando’s delegation at KEMRI Headquarters, Ag. Director Research Capacity and Building, Dr. Martin Bundi, standing in for the Ag. Director General, Prof. Elijah Songok, and Dr. Damaris Matoke on behalf of the Ag. Director Scientific Programs, Partnerships, and Grant Management, Dr. Mariciannah Onono both who extended kind and warm welcome to the guests.

From (L-R), Mr. Naoki Ando (Vice president JICA)Elaborating a point as Dr. Martin Bundi (Rep. Ag. Director General, KEMRI) and Dr. Damaris Matoke Muhia ( Rep. Director, Scientific Programmes Partnership and Grantsmanship.)
Delegates from JICA present during the visit at KEMRI boardroom

The JICA team was given a brief introduction, acquainting them with KEMRI’s relentless pursuit of building human health capacity, fostering collaborations, and providing invaluable guidance to the Ministry of Health on critical health-related matters.

At the heart of the discussions were the significant strides registered in the collaboration and resolves to strengthen this through both human resource and infrastructural strengthening.

It was noted that a more Japanese experts would be visiting the Institute in the coming months to as part of the teams geared towards human resources and pending infrastructural support as envisioned in the collaborative agreement. This partnership encompass among other things, construction projects, including the establishment of cutting-edge laboratories and biobanks, that is to enhance diagnostic capabilities and vaccine development of the Institute.

From (L-R), Dr. Raphael Lihana (Principal Research Scientist) ,Dr. Samson Muuo ( TCP Project Manager), Isaboke Duke (Senior Corporate Communication Officer) listens keenly.
Discussions between the KEMRI team and JICA teams at the KEMRI boardroom

The emphasis on pandemic preparedness, highlighted by the challenges posed by COVID-19, resonated strongly, highlighting the urgency of building resilient health systems capable of rapid response and adaptation.

In his remarks, JICA’s Senior Vice President, expressed profound appreciation for the ongoing cooperation between JICA and KEMRI. “I’m very happy to know that our cooperation and engagement have a lot of meaning to KEMRI… KEMRI’s role in providing training and policy advice to the Ministry of Health is paramount, that’s how a research Institute is supposed to be, and that is a very encouraging thing,” said Mr. Ando. He further emphasized the crucial role of research management in streamlining scientific endeavors, enabling researchers to devote their energies to ground-breaking discoveries. “We are looking forward to further future collaboration and I’m really satisfied with your collaboration,” he intimated.

Dr. Bundi echoed sentiments of gratitude, extending his appreciation to the visiting delegation. “We are honoured to host esteemed partners who share our vision of advancing healthcare through collaborative efforts,” remarked Dr. Bundi, stressing KEMRI’s commitment to fostering enduring partnerships for the betterment of society.

The tour of KEMRI’s state-of-the-art facilities provided guests with first-hand insights into the Institute’s ground breaking research endeavors. From the Centre for Virus Research (CVR) to the Innovation, Technology Transfer Division (ITTD), each showcase demonstrated KEMRI’s unwavering dedication to innovation and excellence in healthcare delivery.

Mr. Naoki Ando and his delegation during a lab tour at KEMRI
JICA Senior Vice president Mr. Naoki Ando and Ag. Director General rep, Dr. Martin Bundi posing for a photograph with the team

Also present was KEMRI’s Dr. Raphael Lihana, (a Principal Research Scientist), Dr. Samson Muuo, (Ag. Deputy Director of Laboratory Services), Mr. Isaboke Duke, (Senior Communication Officer), and Mr. Lameck and Ms. Ruth Cheruto from the IITD department.

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