The Parliamentary Healthy Committee has appealed to the government to allocate Sh50 billion to Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) for research in order to effectively tackle challenging health issues in the country.
KEMRI was allocated Sh2.57 billion in 2020/2021 Financial year and Sh2.99 billion in the next Financial Year.
Speaking during the committee’s meeting at KEMRI offices in Kilifi County, Ndhiwa MP Martin Owino said the committee was aware of the great potential in the institution that he noted was being underutilised.
He said there is need to adequately fund the institution to have a healthy population.
He regretted the ratio of researchers in the country saying currently there are 200 researchers for 1milion people compared to 5000 for the same population in developed world.
Owino said with adequate funds KEMRI will be able to conduct capacity building for local researchers in order to compete with the rest in Africa adding early diseases detection and their early management ensured a healthy nation. “If there is no funding, then what it means is that diseases will emerge, some of global nature and people will get infected. If interventions cannot be done in time, then people die,” he said.
The committee applauded KEMRI for playing a key role in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic by producing products including masks, sanitizers and swabs which were earlier imported.
Addressing the media during the conference, the Acting Deputy Director of KEMRI’s Commercial Enterprise, Cecilia Wanjala highlighted the two Covid-19 related research products besides another five that the research body had produced.
“Today we shall be launching five products and we are also pre-launching two Covid related research products. The first product is Proficiency Testing Service for Covid-19 testing,” added Wanjala.
KEMRI has been engaged in Malaria, TB, HIV and now Covid-19 diagnosis and development of vaccines.
By Treeza Auma