KEMRI wants Sh20 bi*lion to stop relying on donors

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 03:04 | By
Acting Director General and Chief Executive Officer Elijah Songo. PHOTO/Print

Did you know that 70 per cent of the state-of-the-art research outcomes at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) are donor-funded, and as such, denying the country intellectual property rights?
And did you know that 70 per cent of the researchers at KEMRI, are on contract, and under donor remuneration, and as a result denying the country to own its data?

These are the concerns KEMRI want Parliament to address as it seeks over Sh20 billion to complete a number of projects; proposed, others in the pipeline, while several of them are halfway complete.

The National Assembly Committee on Health chaired by Endebess MP Robert Pukose was presented with a business case of KEMRI, in which it is seeking billions of shillings in domestic funding.

“A well domestically resourced institution will reduce the institutions over reliance on donors in a bid to control and own the institution’s research and data outcomes,” the board and management said.

It emerged that 70 per cent of the funds that are injected into the institution come from donors, who end up controlling most of the research conducted locally through the institute.

This is also the same as the number of research staff, who are not permanent, but contracted at the institution, with 70 per cent of them being donor hired and paid.

Acting Director General and Chief Executive Officer Elijah Songok told the Committee yesterday, when it toured the facility, that it’s important to safeguard KEMRI’s mandate of providing solutions for health challenges by investing in it.

“Some of the key issues identified in the strategic plan include the need to increase investment in research and development, adoption of new cutting edge technologies, and strengthening Knowledge Management and Knowledge Translations,” he said.

The KEMRI fraternity has expressed fears the country could be losing a lot of biodata, including Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and other royalties to foreigners.

Prof Songok said the institution is keen on undertaking scientific and technological innovations, strengthening disease surveillance systems, building human health research capacity, strengthening and establishing strategic partnership and collaborations.

More on News