NAIROBI, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan ministry of health will implement a raft of policy and regulatory incentives to facilitate additional funding towards medical research, officials said on Wednesday.
Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu said that robust funding towards medical research will strengthen Kenya's response to killer diseases.
"Investing in quality research is key to provide solution to national health challenges linked to a rise in infectious and non communicable diseases in the population," Mailu remarked.
He spoke during the annual scientific and health conference organized by Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
Delegates who included senior policymakers, scientists and health advocates agreed that Kenya must explore new financing options for medical research in the wake of dwindling overseas support.
Mailu said the government is committed to increasing budgetary allocation towards health research in line with continental and global conventions.
"Sustainable financing of key health programs like research, skills development and public awareness is the cornerstone of national development and well being of our citizens," said Mailu.
He added the government has prioritized funding towards research on non-communicable and neglected tropical diseases that have strained health-care infrastructure in Kenya.
"We are still confronted by daunting health challenges occasioned by epidemics whose spread is aided by environmental and lifestyle changes. This is where the bulk of research efforts should be concentrated," Mailu said.
Kenya remains a regional hub for medical research thanks to a conducive policy environment, investment in modern infrastructure and abundant manpower.
The Acting Director of KEMRI, Dr Gerald Mkoji said that Kenyan scientists and their overseas peers have joined hands to intensify search for cure of major tropical diseases.
"We are focusing on strengthening our research capacity on prevention and treatment of malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and zoonotic diseases," said Mkoji.
He revealed that Kenyan scientists have tapped into natural products to develop medicine for treating leading tropical diseases.