KENYA—Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has begun its 14th Annual Scientific and Health Conference(KASH), which marks a critical milestone in furthering healthcare innovation and research across the region and focuses on regional biopharmaceutical and medtech innovation.
This four-day event, hosted at Safari Park, revolves around the theme “Harnessing Biomedical Research Innovations and Big Data for Health System Resilience, Local Manufacturing, and Commercialization.”
The event was officiated by Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha, setting the stage for a myriad of discussions on biomedical research innovations and big data.
Speaking during the inaugural ceremony, the CS emphasized the need to translate scientific findings into real health products to successfully serve communities.
Nakhumicha underlined the need to address key healthcare concerns through innovative solutions and collaborative efforts.
She went on to praise KEMRI’s status as Kenya’s premier health research institution, as well as its global impact through groundbreaking studies, noting that the WHO’s recommendation for the use of the RTS, S/AS01 malaria vaccine highlighted KEMRI’s commitment to research excellence and contribution to combating pressing health challenges.
She also stressed the significance of capitalizing on the massive market potential represented by the annual healthcare expenditure of Ksh 550 billion(US$3.26 billion).
Nakhumincha concluded by encouraging scientists to develop and do research and welcomed the Kenya Institute of Primate Research’s initiative to manufacture an anti-venom vaccine.
Dr. Cecilia Mbae, KASH chair, on her part, emphasized the importance of this theme, highlighting that KEMRI is committed to promoting healthcare through pioneering research and revolutionary technologies.
The conference is a key event in KEMRI’s annual calendar of events, serving as a forum for academics, local and international collaborators, stakeholders, partners, and policymakers to exchange critical information.
Dr. Mbae also mentioned that she anticipates a busy conference, citing a significant increase in abstract submissions over the previous year, with 364 abstracts received from nations including Uganda, Tanzania, the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, and Ghana.
These abstracts will be presented during the conference as 287 oral presentations and 77 poster presentations.
Furthermore, each morning, the conference will feature ten plenary sessions offered by prominent scientists on a variety of health-related issues.
Dr Mbae underscored the importance of mentoring new scientists by allocating a session to them, allowing incoming researchers at various training levels to present their discoveries competitively, with recognition awaiting them at the conference’s end.
The primary goal of the conference is to provide a forum for a comprehensive understanding of government priorities, thereby fueling innovative financing, improving service delivery mechanisms, and implementing concrete actions to improve access to affordable essential medicines while catalyzing local production.
It also intends to encourage the sharing of regional learnings and to highlight KEMRI’s goods and innovations.
The conference aims to strengthen cooperation and networking among policymakers, regulators, industrial actors, and the scientific community.