Presidential visit strengthens healthcare partnership with Kenya

Thu, 23 Sep 2021 15:02:00 BST

The healthcare partnership between Kenya and the UK government has been strengthened through the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya visited the UK in July and in the presence of Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care; they witnessed the signing of an agreement for the launch of the UK-Kenya Health Alliance by the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health's Vice-President and Dean, Professor Graham Lord, Dr Richard Cowan of Christie Hospital, John Wareing of the University of Manchester Foundation Trust and Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK Amb Manoah Esipisu.

Speaking at the Royal College of Physicians in central London where the agreement was entered, President Kenyatta expressed optimism of strengthening the Kenya-UK partnership in healthcare provision.

“I am delighted to note that this new MoU will create a platform for health workers exchange and capacity building of healthcare professionals not only in Kenya but also across our region. But more importantly, it will also strengthen the management of cancer and therefore be in a position to provide our people with the kind of healthcare that they deserve.” President Kenyatta said.

Noting that Kenya and the UK have had a solid and effective research partnership since the early 1980’s, through various programmes; among them a partnership between the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Welcome Trust and UK Aid, the President said the collaboration has contributed immensely to the advancement of medical research in Kenya.

The President highlighted the UK for its partnership with Kenya in Covid-19 research, a groundbreaking exercise that saw KEMRI undertake zero-surveillance, transmission modelling and testing for the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

“This work will help us as a country to model our health systems capacity and determine how best to enhance the capacity of the systems to manage Covid-19 cases.” the President said.

Professor Graham Lord announced that the University and Christie hospital will establish two scholarships named after Kenya’s founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to help support Kenyans medical students at the University.

As part of its broad objectives, the UK-Kenya Health Alliance seeks to improve cancer care in Kenya and development of a centre of excellence for cancer research at Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTTRH).

Commenting on the proceedings of the day, Secretary of State, Sajid Javid stated: “Recognising the importance of East Africa in the ‘Global Britain’ agenda the UK government see this evolving partnership as investment rather than through the lens of overseas aid.”

The alliance aims to promoting the exchange of health knowledge between Kenya and the UK, as well as developing a centre of excellence for health education and training at Kisii University in Kenya to serve the whole of the East African region.