KENYA—The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has launched a transformative path to enhance worldwide collaboration by launching the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA).
This effort entails the formation of a formal Diaspora Engagement program, which will begin in January 2024.
KEMRI is well-known for its expertise in disease outbreak investigations, containment, and the development of new techniques for identifying, preventing, and treating emerging diseases, which was crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
KEMRI currently ranks as one of the leading Centres of excellence in health research both in Africa as well as globally.
The institute has a mandate of mission is to improve human health and quality of life through research, capacity building, innovation and service delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for KEMRI to meet the country’s public health emergency response needs.
Notably, KEMRI’s success may be credited to its partnership with global partners who have played critical roles in capacity building, including facilities, equipment, and human resources.
Research, development, and innovation are fundamentally global endeavors, and the efficacy of such endeavors is frequently enhanced by collaborations.
Recognizing this, the Kenya Diaspora represents a viable platform for KEMRI to increase its worldwide reach and fulfill its commitment to the people of Kenya and the region.
KEMRI has emerged as a prominent actor in the Kenyan government’s new policy of indigenous manufacturing of medical items.
This policy focuses on the research and development of new vaccinations, diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals for local production.
To successfully implement this initiative, workforce development through training in product development and incubation becomes a critical component.
During the 10th Annual Kenya Diaspora Homecoming Convention (KDHC2023) on December 8th in Nairobi, KEMRI Director General and CEO Prof. Elijah Songok emphasized the mutual benefits that would arise from the collaboration between KEMRI and the Kenya Diaspora Alliance.
He stated that the partnership holds the promise of yielding groundbreaking results and improving healthcare outcomes not only for Kenya but also for the broader international community.
Prof. Songok acknowledged the expertise and experience of Kenya Diaspora members working in foreign universities, research institutes, and pharmaceutical companies.
He expressed KEMRI’s desire to partner with these individuals, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic that highlighted the need for self-reliance during global emergencies.
Under the partnership initiative, KEMRI plans to collaborate with Kenyan Scientists in the Diaspora to advance human health research and commit to building a thriving, strong skills exchange, not only in Kenya but globally.
This partnership will involve the appointment of visiting professors and eminent scientists to KEMRI.
These visiting scientists and professors will, in turn, co-mentor graduate (Masters, PhD, Postdoc) trainees through KEMRI, contributing to the development of a critical local mass for product development.
Additionally, Diaspora scientists will support external fundraising activities by drawing partnership research and innovation grants from the diaspora to KEMRI.
They are set to facilitate a partnership between their mother institutions abroad and KEMRI.
In return, KEMRI will provide the platform, such as labs, personnel, populations, and clinical trial sites, for Kenya Diaspora scientists wishing to carry out their projects in Kenya.
This partnership marks another significant step for KEMRI in advancing its commitment to carrying out research for better health.