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Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe. /FILE

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Govt urged to work closely with scientists to advise on health matters

NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 26 – The government has been challenged to incorporate more scientists in the Executive who will advise on various health-related issues for the betterment of the country’s development.

Programme Manager Grand Challenges Africa Moses Alobo says the model where scientists have been incorporated to give advise on COVID-19 related measures should be reciprocated in other sectors in the health docket to help the government plan better on health-related matters.

“We need to replicate the model to the extent that whether we are discussing genetically modified foods or whether we are discussing about the investment of equipment for the sake of health be it touching on cancer or any other types of surgeries,” he said.

The Grand Challenges family of initiatives seeks to engage innovators from around the world to solve science, technology and innovation, health and developmental challenges.  

Alobo emphasized that the direct link and the integration of scientists will go a long way in aiding the government secure and improve the health of her citizens in knowing which investments to make.

“With COVID-19, people in government have started to listen to scientists and therefore it is critical that scientists take these opportunities seriously and make sure that we can put forward investments for the future for the development of our country,” he said.

Alobo also pointed out that there needs to be concerted efforts that encompasses investigators from diverse organizations, including for-profit institutions, non-governmental organizations, academic and health research institutions, foundations, and civil society groups in improving health matters in the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in February 2020 formed a National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) and tasked it with coordinating Kenya’s preparedness, prevention and response to the threat of COVID-19.

The committee chaired by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe incorporated health experts including scientists who have been pivotal in developing mitigation measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus.

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The committee has also been instrumental in coordinating the capacity building of medical personnel and other professionals so as to enable the country to respond quickly and effectively in managing the spread of the virus.

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