Kenya: Funding Remains a Hindrance to Implementation of Personalized Medicine
By Willy Ngumbi
Though Kenya has a lot of potential for implementing personalized medicine (PM) including human resource among others, funding remains a major hindrance to this treatment model, experts say during the European Union-East Africa Region Stakeholder Workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Dr Evelyn Gitau, African Population and Health Research Centre(APRHC) and the moderator for the working group in Kenya identified funding to be the father of all other weaknesses for developing PM -a new medicine technology for treating individuals using genetic testing to give them medicine that is compatible to their genes.
Dr. Gitau noted that the 0.9% of government revenue allocated to research is not adequate as it is being shared among different sectors where research is being carried out and called for increasing more funds towards health research.
Prof. Omu Anzala of KAVI institute of clinical research highlighted that funding was not only a weakness locally but also internationally where funding was either short termed or they were strict conditions for being given the funding.
Among other challenges identified was Kenya’s lack of capacity to store human genome sequencing data. There are few institutions like International Business Machines Corporation(IBM), Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and NACOSTI which can store health research data but are not to the capacity of storing human genome sequencing.
Additionally, infrastructure is still a cause for concern. High tech machines, Dr. Gitau said were available only in national hospitals and level four and five hospitals in some counties.
“Health care service delivery in Kenya is from level one (community health center) to level six (national referral hospitals) . Besides, the national referral hospitals only level four and five have adequate facilities for higher disease laboratory testing,” she said.