President Uhuru Kenyatta puts Kemri, Ministry on notice over corruption

President Uhuru Kenyatta visits Kemri facility in Kilifi

President Uhuru Kenyatta has put Ministry of Health and Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) officials on notice, telling them they will have to account for every shilling that comes from the National Treasury and donors. 

The Head of State said his government will deal with all those involved in shoddy deals in the health sector.

Speaking on Thursday at the Kemri-Wellcome Trust station in Kilifi after launching the zero campaign against malaria, Mr Kenyatta said the agency's management will be held responsible for any unaccounted funds.

"We are watching closely and we shall not sit back and see any funds being misused or allow shoddy deals in the Ministry of Health to disadvantage Kenyans who are struggling with lack of adequate funds to cater for their health," warned the President.

President Kenyatta unveiled the first locally manufactured malaria rapid diagnostics kit developed by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)-Wellcome Trust.

President Uhuru Kenyatta who also unveiled the first locally manufactured malaria rapid diagnostics kit developed by the institute, announced WHO pre-qualification of Kenya's first locally made anti-malaria drug.

Mr Kenyatta said the country had intensified its fight against the disease by enlisting the support of young people through the Kenya Malaria Youth Army.

He called for more collaboration between the government and the private sector in research, local manufacturing, and marketing of health products so as to create jobs and grow the economy.

Mr Kenyatta further called for the intensification of fight against malaria and other diseases ravaging Africa even as the continent tackles Covid-19.

In Kilifi where he unveiled the rapid diagnostics kit, he challenged the research institution to continue innovating technology-driven methods of defeating the vector-borne disease.

“We have a good number of diseases that we still have to overcome and we are here to overcome that. Even as we continue to partner with you (Kemri) on Covid-19 work, let us not lose focus on the other areas that you have been working extremely hard on,” said the President.

President Kenyatta, who is on the second day of his working tour of Lamu, Kilifi and Mombasa counties, lauded the institution for its leading role in the fight against malaria in the country.

Accompanied by Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, and Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi. Mr Kenyatta cited Cuba among countries where home-grown initiatives managed to eradicate malaria from the entire island.

"I believe we can do the same by working with the brains that are in Kemri and elsewhere,” said the President, who is the current chairman of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA).

Mr Kenyatta called for collaboration of African countries in the fight against malaria.

"No single country can eradicate the disease on its own. We have recognized that it’s not going to be possible to defeat malaria unless we also work together with neighbouring countries because at the end of the day, even if we defeat malaria and it is not defeated in neighbouring countries it will still come back and create future problems,” said President.

The President also called for more collaboration between the government and the private sector in research, local manufacture and marketing of health products so as to create jobs and grow the economy.

He said his administration was keen on reforming the research institution, as he challenged the new management team to ensure it restores Kemri's global reputation as a world class research institution.

At Mutondia village, in Kilifi County, the President unveiled the Kenya-Cuba Malaria Vector Control Project, officially launched the Kenya Malaria Youth Army and witnessed a demonstration on the use of drones in spraying larvicides on mosquito breeding site.

The 'Zero malaria starts with me' initiative that he launched aims to eradicate the disease from the country for good.

The programme will go hand in hand with the Kazi Kwa Vijana programme, and will involve spraying mosquito breeding grounds with insecticide. It will also incorporate the use of drones in surveillance.

On his part, Kilifi County Governor Amason Kingi said the most affected are children and expectant mothers.

During his tour of Kilifi, the President is expected to issue more than 2,000 title deeds to Rabai residents.

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