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Interview with KWTRP Malaria immunologist Dr Francis Ndungu. Francis grew up in central Kenya where malaria is not prevalent but is interested in understanding of how semi-immune individuals control malaria parasite growth and the associated inflammation symptoms. His current work is in understanding how we develop immunity to Malaria. He is also interested in the potential translation of that knowledge in the development of effective malaria vaccines.

Francis Ndungu

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We gathered rich insights into child survival in Kenya by mapping patterns over 22 years

Although improvements in child survival globally have been remarkable, 5.2 million children still died in 2019, over half of these in sub-Saharan Africa. A range of factors likely include disparities in childhood immunisations, supplements and breastfeeding practices, antenatal care, skilled birth attendants working in healthcare facilities. Kenya needs to prioritise its child care plans, based on localities and populations with the greatest need. Two KWTRP studies give granular insights into the situation in regions across Kenya.

Celebrating women in ICT: connected girls, creating brighter futures

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Community and Public Engagement at KWTRP

KWTRP initial community and public engagement strategy was developed in 2005 with three goals: build understanding and trust between researchers and communities, enhance ethical conduct of research, and disseminate research findings to promote uptake into policy. Our programme has since developed and now includes engagement with media, radio programme, media engagement workshops, various meetings and forums, and a fully-fledged school engagement programme that was awarded the 2019 Oxford VC Public Engagement with Research Award.

Receiving and responding to community feedback during health system crises in Kenya

The responsiveness of a health system is one of its goals, alongside fairness in financing and outcomes. Listening and responding to the public can make a health system stronger and fairer. However, responsiveness is likely to be undermined, especially for vulnerable and marginal populations, in periods of crises such as disease outbreaks. In the current COVID-19 crisis, there has been more focus on health system control interventions, with minimal consideration of community views. KWTRP colleagues in Kenya consider community engagement and citizens feedback channels, concerns raised by the public and how they were handled, and highlight lessons learned.

Knowledge brokering platform launched to support health systems in the African region

The World Health Organization and partners including the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme launched AHOP (African Health Observatory Platform), an online platform to promote the exchange of evidence and experience across countries in the African region. By working to foster evidence-informed decision-making in an endeavor to re-engineer health service delivery, the initiative is expected to drive countries’ health system resilience efforts.

Trials of Oxford coronavirus vaccine begin in Kenya

Kenya has joined the global efforts in search of an effective vaccine for COVID-19 with the start of a trial evaluating the ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019 Oxford coronavirus vaccine. Following the necessary approvals from regulators, as well as the national ministry of health, and Kilifi county, the first volunteers for the trial have recently received their vaccinations.