On 10th May 2022, a delegation from PATH made a courtesy visit to the University of Nairobi (UoN) Vice Chancellor Professor Stephen Kiama and officially signed an agreement for collaboration on issues of Maternal health and child health. The Collaborative Agreement will provide a legal framework to advance the cooperation from a Principal Investigator (PI) level to a University level.
The delegation consisted of Dr. Nanthalile - Chief of the Africa Region, Carolyne Njuguna - Director, East Africa Hub; Country Director (Kenya), Sibusiso Hlatjwako - Director of External Affairs (Africa Region), Andolo Miheso - TIMCI Global Project Manager, Brian Taliesin - Global Director Living Labs, Douglas Waudo - Regional Communications and Dr Charles Wanga - Head of Communications Africa Region. They were accompanied by Professor Julius Oyugi of the Institute of Tropical & Infectious Diseases.
At the meeting, Dr. Nanthalile and Ms. Njuguna outlined the core mandate of PATH in Africa and how the collaborations focus on issues around climate change, antimicrobial resistance, vaccine innovation: such as the malaria vaccine project, strengthening health systems against any threats such as COVID-19 and advocacy and public policy to ensure the right policies, especially for maternal and child health are implemented at a national level.
“The world’s first Malaria vaccine was developed by PATH through a collaboration with GSK, this was piloted in Kenya, Malawi and Ghana and the vaccine received the WHO endorsement” Ms. Njuguna noted. Mr. Taliesin elucidated on how his team collaborated with the University of Nairobi on the digital flow of data to ensure information is not siloed in laboratory systems, medical systems and supplychain systems, so as to set the seal on better decision making at the point of care by healthcare professionals.
“This is a global project and it is operating in 4 countries: Senegal, Tanzania, India and Kenya. In each country the project is linked to a university - hence in Kenya it is linked to the University of Nairobi at the the Institute of Tropical & Infectious Diseases”, Mr Andolo noted. He added that in 3 counties, viz. Kitui, Uasin Gishu and Kakamega, the University of Nairobi is providing leadership on research that seek to establish how operational and cost effective it is for health workers to assess and properly diagnose sick children through digitized health guidelines by the use of a tablet.
The Vice Chancellor in his remarks said “health requires partnerships”. He was very happy to partner with PATH on this project to ensure that all the objectives in the MoU are achieved.
The Vice Chancellor said that data driven decision making in health through the Center for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (CEMA) helped Kenya during the COVID-19 period and he was hopeful that collaboration between PATH and the University of Nairobi will be fruitful. The Vice Chancellor mentioned that the projects were in line with the University mandate of providing community service, research and innovation.