KEMRI Launches First Locally Developed Malaria Test Kit
The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) is a state corporation charged with the responsibility of carrying out health research in Kenya. KEMRI has grown from its humble beginning over 40 years ago to become a regional leader in human health research. The Institute currently ranks as one of the leading Centres of excellence in health research both in Africa as well as globally. With the unveiling of a locally developed rapid diagnostic malaria test kit, the research institution is staying true to its mission which is to improve human health and quality of life through research, capacity building, innovation and service delivery as Corporate Watch Magazine’s K.J Odongo writes.
The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) unveiled a one of a kind Malaria test kit at its Kilifi facility. The unveiling of the first locally Developed Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) Kit was presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta on 22nd July 2021. The rapid diagnostic kit unveiled is a prototype with a promising performance and is expected to go through a validation process in the next 30 days following its launch before it can be submitted to the Pharmacy & Poisons Board for independent evaluation and registration before the last quarter of 2021.
The kit will be ready for mass production, through a Public-Private Partnership with a local manufacturer by December this year. This kit is expected to increase access of malaria diagnosis at the point-of-care and significantly reduce the cost of testing. It will also support local industries thus contribute to job creation.
Malaria, along with malnutrition, remains one of the leading causes of death in Africa, with sub-Saharan region accounting for 94% of the global malaria cases and deaths. Pregnant women and children under 5 years old being the most vulnerable. The Kenya Medical Research Institute has over the years been at the forefront in the fight against malaria, with various projects being implemented in disease endemic counties which include but not limited to disease surveillance, case management, clinical and vaccines trials, vector control and management.
The President in his speech at the ceremony said that his government is committed towards supporting the development of KEMRI to become a world class research institution and that the government through the Ministry of Health will avail all resources that are needed to achieve this goal.
Malaria Action Day…
The President also made an announcement of the attainment of the first local manufacturer of Malaria medicines who has now attained the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Pre- Qualifications Standards.
During a ceremony attended by among others, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health, Hon (Sen). Mutahi Kagwe, Regional Commander, John Elungata, KEMRI Chair of the Board, Dr. Daniel Mbinda and KEMRI Acting Director General, Prof. Sam Kariuki, the President also took time to launch Kenya’s Malaria Youth Army Project as well as unveil Kenya Cuba Malaria Vector Control Project as part of the Malaria Action Day celebrations. As part of the Malaria Action day the President, also launched the KENYA’S MALARIA YOUTH ARMY where he witnessed the youth spraying larvicides at the Malaria breeding sites and indoor residual spraying at the community as well as a spectacular show of demonstration of use of Drone Technology in spraying mosquitoes breeding sites
The President who is also the Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) congratulated the KEMRI scientists for their steadfastness in conducting\ cutting edge research in malaria and other communicable diseases, saying that time is ripe for Kenyans and Africans at large to come up with home grown solutions towards eradication and elimination of malaria in Africa. But cautioned that this must be joint concerted efforts of all African countries because together we can achieve much.
The African Leaders Malaria Alliance is a coalition of African Union Heads of State and Government working across 55 African countries with various partners including Regional Economic Communities and development partners to eliminate malaria by 2030 in line with Sustainable Development Goals. ALMA in partnership with Canal International is calling on actors to come together to fight the disease. Since 2009, ALMA and its partners have been supporting national health ministries to implement activities for the prevention, screening and treatment of malaria. The noble goal of ALMA, is, the elimination of malaria by 2030 in Africa where up to 94% of global malaria cases are found.