“We Will Strengthen Research, Development and Innovation at KEMRI”, says President Ruto

It was an honor for KEMRI when the President H.E William Samoei Ruto visited the Institute’s booth at the first manufacturers expo at the COMESA grounds, KICC, Nairobi on 13th October, 2023.

President Ruto who was accompanied by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health, Nakhumicha Wafula, CS Investment, Trade and Rebecca Miano, Nairobi Governor, Hon. Johnson Sakaja, Director General, Ministry of Health, Dr. Patrick Amoth among other dignitaries were received by Dr. James Kimotho, Head of Innovation, Technology and Transfer Division.

The president was taken through KEMRI’s responsibilities, challenges and innovation especially the products that have been manufactured by the Institute such as the Plasmocheck Malaria kits, Kem-rub Hand sanitizers, Tbcide among other products that were on display.

The President, H.E William Samoei Ruto giving a brief statement while visiting the Institute’s booth at KICC, accompanied by CS for Health, Ms. Nakhumicha S. Wafula. Welcoming them is Dr. James Kimotho, Head ITTD.

After the tour the president proceeded to the expo discussions. The expo was aimed at spurring local manufacturing products and technologies for the supply of affordable and quality essential health products and technology towards the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage goals (UHC).

The event brought together key stakeholders in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors to explore innovative solutions and partnerships that could revolutionize healthcare delivery and accessibility in the country and comes up as a build-up activity towards Mashujaa day.

It was during this time that the President in his key note address acknowledged the vital role that the manufacturing industry plays in the health sector from producing pharmaceuticals products to medical equipment and supplies where he highlighted on the importance of research and development to create innovative solutions that can enhance healthcare delivery.

The President reiterated his support for research and development by increasing financing for clinical trials at Kenya Medical Research Institute.

“We will strengthen research, development and innovation by increasing funding for clinical trials at KEMRI to boost research in and commercialization of health products and technologies,” he said.

He also noted that local manufacturing requires significant support to survive the competitive, multi-billion-dollar global pharmaceutical market. He promised that his government will fully support this course to ensure that by 2026, fifty percent of medical drugs listed in the Kenya Essential Medicines List will be manufactured and available locally.

KEMRI’s Ms. Maureen performs a malaria test on a conference attendee looking on is KEMRI’s Mr. Kelvin Thiongo’

Other activities of the expo included panel discussions where Dr. Kimotho actively participated on topics such as the importance of quality, efficacy and safety on manufactured products and the key market and barriers affecting the locally manufactured products.

KEMRI recorded a high number of attendees who visited the KEMRI innovation booth and interacted with scientists and the various products showcased by the institute.

The key takeaway from the expo was, collaboration is essential in achieving a lot from coordinating of activities among financiers, industries and technical costs to support manufacturers in dealing with various requests, and coordination across the country to ensure supply and viable market for products. It was also agreed that with the right policy framework and regulatory, Kenya will become attractive to local and foreign investors in health manufacturing.

KEMRI Team at the exhibition booth