Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Programme

Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Programme
It involves conducting basic, clinical, operational, implementation and applied research in all matters related to non-communicable diseases that include Life styles diseases such as Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiovascular problems, Drug and Substance abuse among others.
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Of all the major health threats to emerge, none has challenged the very foundations of Public Health so profoundly as the rise of Non-Communicable Diseases.
Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, once linked only to affluent societies, are today unfortunately a global problem with the poorest of the poor among them, women being the most venerable.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 1 in 4 deaths among adult women are caused by Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Tobacco, a leading risk factor for NCDs is still widely used in Africa.
In recognition of these enormous challenges, KEMRI’s Non-communicable Diseases programme, focused on the daunting task of conducting basic, clinical, operational and applied research in all matters related to Non-communicable diseases.

The rise of Non- Communicable diseases in Kenya and throughout the world poses a threat to human health and a drain to the economy. NCDs such as cancers, diabetes and others account for 27 per cent of the total deaths and over 50 per cent of total hospital admissions in Kenya. This has warranted new approaches for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of such afflictions. The field of stem cell research and regenerative medicine offers the opportunity to address the challenges the diseases pose. Stem cells are class of undifferentiated cells that have the potential to develop into different cell types during early life and growth. They are an internal repair system which decides without limit to replenish other cells.
Commercial motorcycle and bicycle transport system commonly known as ‘bodaboda’ has been reported to contribute significantly to the number of road traffic injuries both in urban and rural areas. In Busia County, road accidents injuries due to motorcycles are a major but neglected emerging public health problem. This realization has prompted the Non-Communicable Diseases Research Programme to initiate a cross –sectional survey on the pattern of injury and risk factors associated with commercial motorcycle accidents.
It is envisaged that data from this study will help in designing effective intervention measures aimed at reducing motorcycle accidents in the county.
The Center for Clinical Research is the premier center at KEMRI has a model hospital equipped completely for conducting clinical studies in Kenya. It is here all the other centers have emerged. The main function of the center is to lead in clinical trials in infectious, neglected and non communicable diseases as well as testing of diagnostic kits. The Centre also hosts the National Cancer Registry collecting data on all forms of cancer incidences and trends in Kenya. At the moment, it is working on the establishment of Cancer Registers in 10 Counties. This is in keeping with the spirit of devolving healthcare services to our communities.
Indeed KEMRI has a comprehensive framework under which research activities and services are administered through seven regional clusters that serve the forty seven Counties.

The Institute is therefore working closely with the County governments to address county- specific research challenges and priorities in an effort to contribute to sustainable health solutions.

This is in keeping with Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Universal Health Coverage as one of the four key pillars of the government’s development agenda.

For instance, the Institute has signed Memorandum of Understandings (MOU’s) with a number of counties on various research and infrastructural projects. In Kirinyaga, Mandera, Marsabit, Homa Bay, TaitaTaveta, Bugoma and Isiolo Counties, KEMRI is jointly working with these counties to establish fully fledged research centers to meet specific mandates. Each of the proposed centers will have the following:

A Research Center,

Teaching and Referral Hospital

A Graduate School

Administration Block

Conference Facilities

A Manufacturing facility and

A Botanical Garden

Already, KEMRI has already launched the construction of these centres in Kirinyaga and Mandera as pilot.