Professor Nelly Rwamba Mugo, Keynote Speaker;
Professor Bongani Nkambule, Guest Speaker;
Members of the University Management Board;
Deans of Schools;
Members of Faculty;
All conference participants;
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great honor to welcome you to Kabarak University 13th International Conference, which also happens to be the 6th School of Medicine and Health Sciences Conference.
Linking Industry and Academia to Strengthen Healthcare Delivery and Health Innovations is the theme for this conference. It is a very timely theme which speaks to the point of what we do in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Due to emergence of infections such as Covid-19 and the fact that other health security threats are emerging, it is paramount that we plan for unprecedented situations by adequately preparing an adequate workforce and knowledge generation through research to combat these challenges. Kabarak University remains steadfast in training essential healthcare professionals including clinicians, nurses, nutritionists, public health experts, and pharmacists, among others. Our graduates from these programs will contribute towards strengthening of health systems in Kenya and globally through service delivery and research.
In addition to training of healthcare personnel, Kabarak University is cognizant of the importance of research in health care. The high quality of medical care we enjoy today is built upon years of research in medical and health care. To this end, we are grateful to the Government of Kenya for its commitment to medical research and fostering collaborations with universities and research institutions such as the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
We also acknowledge the Government’s effort to establish the National Research Fund (NRF), which provides support for multidisciplinary research in healthcare research.
As a University, we are supporting the Government’s efforts in medical and healthcare research in various ways:
First, we have in place the Kabarak University Research Fund: This is an annual fund that is available for disbursement to faculty and students annually. The fund targets research activities whose finding are disseminated during the annual conferences and published in the various Kabarak University research journals.
Second, the University engages in collaborative research partnerships with industry. For instance, our School of Medicine and Health Sciences is engaged with Diasorin, a Global Leader in Diagnostics for Biomedical Research. This engagement will generate evidence to strengthen diagnosis of tuberculosis in the country. We are also in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the County Governments of Baringo and Nakuru, and other Universities in the establishment of a Center for Health Informatics Research. This center oversees joint research activities between the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and School of Science, Engineering and Technology. Some of the current live research studies in the Center include those funded by the University internal grant, the National Research Fund (NRF), and the Artificial Intelligence for Development (AI4D) organization. Additionally, this center has a collaboration with Health Information Systems project, funded by USAID through the University of Nairobi.
Third, we have established the Kabarak Journal of Medical, Pharmaceutical, and Allied Sciences (KJMPS), a platform that serves for disseminating health research outputs.
Fouth, going forward, Kabarak University is keen to foster collaborations with:
- Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
- The University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
- Indiana University, USA
- MERCK group.
By nurturing these alliances we will create a fertile ground for cross-pollination of ideas, shared resources, and ultimately, transformative advancements in healthcare.
We firmly believe that these efforts coupled with other initiatives undertaken by the University will significantly strengthen healthcare delivery and innovations that will enhance the health of our communities.
With those few remarks, I am pleased to declare this International Research Conference officially opened.
Introduction of Keynote Speaker
Our Keynote Speaker is Professor Nelly Rwamba Mugo,
Senior Principal Clinical Scientist, Center for Clinical Research (CCR),
Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
Prof. Nelly Mugo has over two decades’ clinical trial experience focused on prevention of HIV, Cervical Cancer and other sexually transmitted infections and providing hospital based reproductive health clinical care services in Kenya:
- Mugo initiated a clinical trial research facility in Thika Kenya, which over the last 16 years has extensive research experience in conducting clinical, observational, and behavioral science studies. These include the landmark HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis ‘Partner PrEP’ study that informed the change in indication for oral emtricitabine/tenofovir (Truvada) as HIV PrEP and the Kenya Single Dose HPV Vaccine Study (KENSHE) that has contributed data to the change in the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation for HPV vaccine dose schedule to include single dose.
- Mugo led a microbicide phase 11a study evaluating a multipurpose technology intravaginal ring (tenofovir/levonorgestrel) in Kenya. Nelly has served on HIV prevention and cervical cancer guideline development and technical working groups for the Kenya Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.
- Mugo has published over 200 scientific articles in peer reviewed journals. She served as obstetrician gynecologist and head, research at the Kenyatta National Hospital, taught undergraduate and post graduate students at the University of Nairobi and is currently an associate research professor, department of Global Health, University of Washington.
- Mugo has mentored several young Kenyan scientists and continues to be inspired by their career growth. She is a member of the African Academy of Sciences.
Our Conference is also enriched by the presence of the Guest Speaker, Professor Bongani Nkambule, Academic leader of Research, College of Health Sciences, School of Laboratory Medicine and Medical Sciences, University of Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.