The Mount Kenya University (MKU), a leading private varsity in the country has unveiled a Malaria research centre aimed at supplementing the government’s war against the deadly disease.
The new facility dubbed ‘Malaria Elimination Centre’ is equipped with a state-of-the-art research laboratory aimed at bolstering Kenya’s efforts to fight the disease.
The facility will be domiciled at the Thika Main Campus.
The Thika based university won Sh450 million malaria research grant from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) jointly with Osaka City University of Japan, to undertake research on malaria in Homa Bay county.
The two institutions will share the grant, whereby Osaka City University will take Sh150 million, while Mount Kenya University will take Sh300 million.
Mount Kenya University used the funds to set up a Malaria Elimination Centre at its main campus in Thika, Kiambu County.
While officially unveiling the Malaria research centre, Japanese ambassador to Kenya His Excellency Okinawa Ken hailed the facility as one which will play a great role in coming up with solutions aimed at reducing the impact that malaria has on human health for the next ten years.
“I have visited the project site in Homa Bay county and I have been briefed about the challenges and what is the situation that is confronting the residents of the county.” Okinawa said.
“The difficulty of malaria is not just about medicine but also the mosquitoes and the housing so people have to know what to do to fight the disease.” He added.
On his part, MKU Vice Chancellor Professor Deogratius Jaganyi noted that the facility will enable MKU to enhance research that it is already undertaking on malaria.
He noted that the university has already made major strides through research efforts towards unravelling the complexities of malaria immunity among children and pregnant women.
He further said that the research mission stands to deepen understanding of human immune response to malaria and also pave the way for targeted interventions to protect the most vulnerable populations.
“In addition, the researchers are investigating anti-malarial drug resistance, a growing concern in the global fight against malaria. By studying the mechanisms of resistance, we thus strive to develop new strategies and therapies that can overcome this challenge.” Jaganyi said.
He added that the university has dedicated teams working on the development and evaluation of malaria diagnostic kits with the aim of providing accurate and rapid diagnosis.