From Directors Corner

From Directors Corner

IPR Participation inthe National Research and Development Agenda: As a public institution, NMK-IPR is expected to play its rightful role of knowledge creation through research, and translation of research results into products and policies. As the second largest biomedical facility in the country (after KEMRI), and the only preclinical testing facility that has access to small and large animal models of human diseases in the country and region, we are uniquely suited to influence current and future medical practice, or the management and conservation of non-human primates, by generating research data that contributes to evidence-based policies and practice. So how is IPR contributing to the national research agenda in the country? We are represented and participate in many forums within and...

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From Directors Corner

IPR Participation inthe National Research and Development Agenda:


As a public institution, NMK-IPR is expected to play its rightful role of knowledge creation through research, and translation of research results into products and policies. As the second largest biomedical facility in the country (after KEMRI), and the only preclinical testing facility that has access to small and large animal models of human diseases in the country and region, we are uniquely suited to influence current and future medical practice, or the management and conservation of non-human primates, by generating research data that contributes to evidence-based policies and practice. So how is IPR contributing to the national research agenda in the country? We are represented and participate in many forums within and outside of government circles.

 

 

We sit on the Boards and Committees of various organizations where we can influence decision-making and the direction of policy matters on behalf of the Institute and the entire NMK. A few examples with suffice to make this point. IPR is represented on various committees that fall under the auspices of the National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) which is the principal advisor to the government on all matters pertaining to Science, Technology and Innovation, operating under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology. We are members of the NCST-STI Desks which the Council has established to drive the STI agenda in the country. We also sit in the National Bioethics Committee which is the organ that regulates the ethics of research and registers all ethical committees in the country (see separate story on registration of IPR-IRC). We are a member of the National Biosciences Committee that was established by the NCST in 2010 and whose mandate is to formulate a comprehensive harmonized policy and legal framework for the biosciences in Kenya.


We also continue to build on previous contacts and collaborations with the Ministries of Health. In particular we are collaborating with the Ministry of Public Health/Division of Neglected Tropical Diseases on studies to define how worms affect vaccination; we are also in discussions with senior officials at the MoH on how we can be incorporated in various national committees on non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases and zoonotic/disease surveillance.IPR is a member of the National Radioactive Waste Management Committee which operates under the Ministry of Public Health-Radiation Protection Board.

 

 

This Board is the major organ that advises government on all matters pertaining to the use and disposal of radioactive materials in medicine, energy and other sectors, and is the responsible client for the major project being undertaken on the IPR campus for construction of a National Radioactive Waste Processing laboratory. IPR/NMK is also providing leadership in the development of a National Policy on Natural Products that will provide a conducive regulatory framework for the robust development of a natural products industry in Kenya capable of providing health care, nutritional products and cosmetics, while also conserving our biodiversity. This important national agenda brings together all the key players in the country including universities, research institutes, association of practitioners, NGOs and GoK ministries and departments.

 


Beyond the biomedical disciplines IPR has been a key player on various aspects of non-human primate ecology and conservation of endangered species. We have been closely working with KWS and other governmental and non-governmental organizations to establish a National Primate Taskforce that will raise the profile of this important issue and to seek to implement coordinated programs for the management and conservation of abundant and vulnerable species. Related to this is the proposed development of National Guidelines and Regulations for Laboratory Animal Sciences, which is aimed at developing standards for housing, welfare and care of animals used in research facilities in the country.

 

 

This agenda is being sponsored by the NCST and the Consortium for National Health Research (CNHR) with NMK-IPR contributing the core team of animal scientists to organize a planned national workshop. This fully engaged portfolio also includes inputs we have made to various national bills such as the Wildlife bill and the STI bill currently under development. Thus, when called upon to make our contribution at the national level we will do so enthusiastically, and where we feel we have been overlooked, we will respectively request inclusiveness.


Thomas Kariuki, Phd