Feed the Future Animal Health Innovation Lab program was launched officially on Monday 17th May 2021. A physical event was Held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nairobi and virtually for participants based in the USA and Kenya. The Innovation lab will be based at the Department of Clinical Studies, College of Agriculture, and Veterinary Services-University of Nairobi.
The Animal Health Innovation Lab is a multi-million, multi-agency five-year program funded by United States Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience and Food Security. The current grant is worth USD 6 million and has an opportunity to grow to USD 16 million. The collaborating institutions include Scientists and Researchers from Washington State University, the University of Nairobi, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), and the Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).
Prof. Stephen Kiama, Vice-Chancellor, University of Nairobi was among the Chief guests during the Launch. His address mainly highlighted the unique elements of this joint program; “this program fosters a strong collaboration and excellence in research, training, and capacity development which is consistent with the University of Nairobi mission of providing quality education” The program will adopt a multi-disciplinary approach and will bring together veterinarians, epidemiologists, molecular biologists, socio-anthropologists, nutritionists, and economists to tackle the East Coast Fever problem.
“Through the Feed the Future Animal Health Innovation Lab program, the interventions, and innovations together with other human capacity development initiatives will go a long way in addressing the challenges in East coast fever Control and linking research to development” stated Mr. Harry Kimtai, Principal Secretary, State Department of Livestock.
Prof. Thumbi Mwangi, Director, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Animal Health stated, “The goal for The Feed the Future Animal Health Innovation Lab is very clear, we are not only developing vaccines and diagnostics and training the next generation of Animal health researchers but also we are going to impact the lives of people” Further, Prof. Thumbi reflected on his experience while he was a student at the University of Nairobi over 20 years ago saying that the mentorship he received at the
University has greatly impacted his career.
Dr. Vish Nene, Co-Leader Animal and Human Health Program, ILRI also made his remarks stating that East Coast fever remains a formidable disease in the region, any research that contributes to alleviating the disease will improve agriculture productivity. At the Innovation lab, we will use exciting technology to develop novel vaccines.”
Prof. George Karuoya Gitau, the project principal investigator based at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi expressed his delight over the launch of the lab. While making remarks during the launch, Prof. Gitau stated “The control of East Coast Fever will translate to the improvement of the Livelihood of farmers. The University of Nairobi will expose participating students to many researchers and mentors. The lab will be fully operational in the last quarter of 2021.”
Click HERE to watch the Launch