By Otieno Owino
Nairobi- 8 Feb 2014-  Kenyan scientists should put more efforts in research to solve existing problems and influence policy decisions if Kenya is to move forward in terms of development, health principal secretary says.

Speaking during the Kenya Medical Research Institute’s Annual Scientific and Health Conference, Prof Fred Segor urged scientists to put more work into research to catapult Kenya into a leading country in the region.

“Development normally comes when you invest in research and a country’s performance indicators is measured through research and development. Maternal and child health, infectious diseases, and the burden posed by non-communicable diseases are pressing issues that need proper evidence base to be combated effectively” he said.

“The need for good information in guiding policy decisions cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, this calls for robust research that is timely and accurate,” he said.

This fourth edition of the conference attracted over 100 scientists, researchers, policy makers & corporate scientific leaders.

Several presentations under the theme Health Research for a Healthier nation were made in the areas of HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, Microbiology, Parasitic Infections & Entomology, Traditional Medicine & Drug Development, Maternal and Child Health, Non Communicable Diseases, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Public Health & Health Systems, representing over 500 authors.

Speaking during the opening ceremony Kemri board chairperson Prof Ruth Nduati also called on the scientists need to be able to attract grants that will place Kenya as a leading country in health best practices.

“We have a few KEMRI scientists who bring grants for research. But it is a few stars here, I would like to see a time where you have so many; these grants are there and there is so much going on that it actually catapults Kenya into being among the top in demonstrating leadership and good health for our nation,” she said.

Prof Nduati said that Kemri as an institution must justify the resources that Kenya government is putting into it and the responsibility that they have given the institution by the doing the job they have been asked to do.

Kemri Director Prof Solomon Mpoke, expressed belief that such conferences would lead to more innovations that would improve healthcare in the country.

“We expect that we are going to see an increased number of publications from Kemri scientists and we are also expecting to see a number of innovations that will improve health systems in the country,”

He also urged the scientists to put more effort in developing publications and disseminating them.

“We know that research is an industry, we are expecting that by investing in research we are going to see more presentations in conferences like this and other local and international conferences,” he said.