The KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Program, Nairobi Hub held the first annual Nairobi stakeholders forum on 30th July 2019. The one-day forum hosted over 70 stakeholders from the Ministry of Health, private and public institutions from across the country with representatives from some counties and international organisations. The main aim of the forum was to provide a platform for open exchange of ideas between stakeholders and researchers at the KEMRI Wellcome Programme. Dr. Edwine Barasa the Nairobi director stated that, he believed the forum would allow the stakeholders in the health sector to provide feedback on KEMRI Wellcome’s  research work as well as guide the research agenda going forward.

Dr. Charles Nzioka. Director of Health Policy, Research and Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Health in his opening remarks stated that the Ministry of Health believes in the role of research in informing health policy in the country, and was happy with KEMRI Wellcome’s role in contributing toward different policies in the country such as the Kenya Paedtriatic Treatment Guidelines, the National Malaria Strategy and ongoing NHIF reforms. Dr. David Soti, from the Ministry of Health further thanked the Programme for convening a platform that brought researchers, academia, policy makers and service users together for the achievement of better health.

The one-day meeting saw attendees participate in four different discussions led by different units based at the Nairobi Programme. The Health Services Unit (HSU) held discussions on the Clinical Information Network and the newborn care at health facilities. The Gender Working Group together with stakeholders deliberated and came up with key research agenda for gender and health in Kenya. Health Economics Research Unit (HERU) focused on priority setting for Universal Health Coverage. Finally, the Population Health Unit (PSU) led discussions on the need for subnational estimates and focus on the unmet needs as well as discussions on Routine Data systems and their potential to provide updated planning information.

Policy engagement is important for the KEMRI Wellcome Program, the Programme believes that the research we do is only relevant to the extent that it informs policy and practice at the local, regional, and global level. For this to happen, we acknowledge that close collaboration and partnership with our stakeholders is essential, this is why the Annual Nairobi Stakeholder Forum is important to us.