Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) hosted its annual policy engagement forum in Nairobi. This year’s forum provided a valuable platform for deliberation between policy stakeholders and researchers, focusing on their research needs and policy priorities. The event is part of a larger consultative process towards the development of the KWTRP strategic plan.

Group photo of participants to the KWTRP Annual Policy Engagement Forum

Dr Rebecca Kiptui from the Ministry of Health, while officially opening the forum, lauded KWTRP for organizing the meeting. She encouraged interactions between researchers and policy makers to support the communication of evidence in a useful and timely manner in support of policy formulation. Dr Kiptui also provided guidance on areas of interest that the Ministry would require evidence for policy.

Professor Edwine Barasa, the Acting Executive Director of KWTRP, reaffirmed the Programme’s commitment to ensuring that research evidence feeds into both local and international policies. He emphasized that engagements with key stakeholders are crucial for making the upcoming KWTRP Strategic Plan more responsive and impactful.

The different thematic research groups hosted consultative sessions with their stakeholders.

The Vaccines team had invited a rich mix of stakeholders ranging from staff from the MOH (The director of the national vaccines and immunizations programme, the head of communicable diseases, and members of the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Lung Disease Program), the National Quality Control Laboratory, KENITAG, Africa CDC, PATH, JHPIEGO, UNICEF, professional associations (Kenya association of physicians, Kenya pediatric association, and Kenya Obstetrical Gynecological Society), and Industry (Kenya BioVax Institute). The group identified the current challenges and decisions facing the vaccine programme in Kenya and the evidence gaps. The need for sustained immunization financing and advocacy to reduce and prevent vaccine hesitancy contextualized discussions. The day ended with exchange of ideas on ways in which each organization could promote and enhance vaccine research, translation of evidence into policy, sustained vaccine delivery and local manufacture.

The clinical research team deliberated on the prioritization of research areas using existing data, improving data collection methods, and addressing funding challenges due to lack of clear data. The team also discussed support for the Ministry of Health’s shift towards preventive care services, enhancing primary care to reduce curative care costs, and updating guidelines for various health conditions such as epilepsy, pediatric neurological issues, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Lastly, they highlighted the need for studies on the impact of agricultural practices on human health.

Health systems and research ethics sought feedback on priority areas in health services, implementation research, health economics, health policy, and systems research. They highlighted considerations of new technologies like AI in research ethics and the impact of climate change on healthcare provision.

The pathogen biology team participated in conversations about the value of fundamental science research, epidemic response, antibiotic resistance, and malaria vector control. The key priority areas included utilizing already-existing data and streamlining the data collection process and AFI platforms/samples where pathogens are unknown need to be tested, to detect active diseases and strengthen the capacity of decentralized laboratories.  As a result, KEMRI is planning to provide laboratory services, equipment, and capabilities for different research centers, which need extensive interaction/engagement with partners. These might need financial support, but harmonizing SOPs and assets across many partners will be instrumental in ensuring meaningful learning.

KWTRP is dedicated to fostering partnerships between researchers and policymakers to champion evidence-informed decision-making. This annual forum is one of the key strategies used to promote the uptake of evidence in policy formulation.

The forum drew participants and representatives from the Ministry of Health and affiliated programs, various health workers’ associations, practitioners, and implementing partners.

The full story is available on the KWTRP website.