The Director General (DG) of Health Dr. Patrick Amoth held talks with the Chief Executive Officer of Foundation of Innovative and New Diagnostics (FIND), Dr Bill Rodriguez in his office at Afya House. Dr. Rodriquez briefly explained the mandate of FIND in the areas of COVID-19 and neglected tropical diseases. He expressed his interest in working with the Ministry of Health to strengthen and expand community testing of COVID-19 so as to identify hotspots and secondly, to increase the local capacity to produce vaccines and diagnostic kits. He also briefed the DG on some of the efforts his organization was undertaking with regard to testing of Leishmania using rapid kits.
This is a study that is jointly being undertaken by KEMRI and FIND in Gilgil area of Nakuru County. He observed that the COVID-19 pandemic had led to a resurgence of neglected tropical disease.
The DG appreciated the work FIND was undertaking in Kenya. He briefed the CEO of FIND on the efforts his ministry was undertaking in the diagnosis and treatment of Schistosomiasis in Kenyan School Children. He state that he was expected to officiate at the launch of the Schistosomiasis Children-treatment program. He further explained the efforts his ministry was undertaking in the sequencing of the COVID-19 variant strains in Kenya and disclosed that Kenya was the COVID-19 sequencing hub for Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, the Comoros among other countries in East and Central Africa. He praised the collaboration and funding given to the JKUAT-COHES Research team by FIND for the Digital end to end study and Diagnostic Network Optimization studies. He disclosed that the MOH was working closely with JKUAT as a partner which has provided the much needed technical support in the disease modelling of COVID-19 since 2020. He reiterated that the projects undertaken by JKUAT were authorized and undertaken on behalf of MOH. He welcomed FIND to work with MOH and expand its collaboration with JKUAT and other research institutions such as KEMRI, which houses FIND Kenya. Dr. Bill Rodriguez was accompanied by the Chief Medical Officer of FIND, Dr. Sergio Carmona and the CEO of FIND–Kenya Prof Mathu Ndung’u.
The JKUAT COHES Research group was represented by Prof Simon Karanja, Dr Reuben Thuo, Dr. Jane Aduda, and Prof. Fred Wamunyokoli. Also in attendance was Dr. Denver Mariga of MOH.