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Project Immunify.Life is supporting and partnering with MMUST in medical related activities and projects to improve health outcomes in Kenya and across the world. Together, they are working on a major project worth two billion Kenyan shillings (Kshs. 2,000,000,000), dealing with management of infections and diseases such as COVID-19 and HIV & AIDS. MMUST’s Immunify.Life team leader is Dr. Tecla Sum from the Department of Paramedical Sciences.

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The Vice Chancellor speaking during the interview with Immunify.Life team

The Vice Chancellor, noted that this partnership is a solution to health care problems faced in the country. Prof. Shibairo assured partners that the University is very much capable of running this project. “MMUST has a team of well-trained personnel who are ready to deliver the objectives of the project. We have previously successfully run grants and mentored other organizations in research.  Recently, MMUST played a lead role in supporting the County Government of Kakamega to provide critical technical training for health care professionals in the County during COVID-19,” said the Vice Chancellor. Further, Prof. Shibairo guaranteed the associates that MMUST is the right institution to partner with, saying that the University has maintained fiscal discipline.

Speaking during the interview, Immunify.Life Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Guy Lewing, revealed that Immunify.Life has more than 90 years of healthcare experience and is engaged in developing understandings and synergies to create impact in communities. “We are looking forward to working with the impressive team at MMUST and to have them make use of our technology. The technology is very easy to use and can be customized to different diseases and languages,” he said.

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 DVC (Planning, Research and Innovation), Prof. Charles Mutai DVC (Administration and Finance), Prof. John Kuria Thuo Prof. John Okoth

The MMUST  team leader, Dr. Tecla Sum, said that this partnership began in 2019, courtesy of the Department of Paramedical Sciences which is housed in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedical Sciences (SONMAPS). In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the institutions saw an opportunity to cement this relationship with a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Other researchers from MMUST attached to this project are, Prof. Charles Mutai, Prof. John Martin Okoth, Dr. Bernard Wesonga and Dr. Donald Kokonya.

Immunify.Life Implementation Manager, Mr. Dola Idowu, who spoke about the genesis of the company, pointed out that MMUST is now recognized globally as a result of this project.  “We want Africa to take advantage of the technology that Immunify.Life has on offer. MMUST is the conduit that we at Immunify.Life are using because it is one of the top Universities in Kenya that is ready to go with technology,” he said.

Immunify.Life Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Daniel Kenny, discussed the key projects Immunify.Life is working on and how far it has come. “Immunify.Life is working in three key areas, that is, COVID-19, HIV & AIDS, as well as patient adherence to treatment. We are partnering with engineers to refine our technology to collect and analyze data. Currently, we are focusing on incentivizing patients to stay on treatment and induce the desired behaviour change. The goal of Immunify.Life is to roll out a program for all diseases,” stated Mr. Kenny.

Immunify.Life Director Strategic Partnerships, Ms. Kinza Win, focused on investment and funding, saying that they are supporting partnerships by working with the global fund and other donor organizations. “We are set to collaborate with other NGOs to share and support research.” said Ms. Kinza.

 The DVC (Planning, Research and Innovation), Prof. Charles Mutai, noted that this partnership is among active collaborations in MMUST. “Our desire as a University of science and technology is to improve the quality of life through research and we can only do so through collaborations. I am very pleased to see that Immunify.Life focuses on improving the healthcare system. Let us focus on prevention, developing drugs and treatment of diseases,” said Prof. Mutai.

Commenting on the partnership, the DVC (Administration and Finance), Prof. John Kuria Thuo, appreciated Immunify.Life for partnering with MMUST in this noble initiative. “This Global partnership will impact society and we are confident that the objectives of the project will be realized. I hope that this partnership will grow to higher levels and that even after 5 years, we shall be trusted with other opportunities,” said the Deputy Vice Chancellor, adding that MMUST will be accountable and prudent in the utilization of any funds that will come through this partnership.

On his part, the DVC (Academic and Students Affairs), Prof. Hussein Golicha, was happy to note that this project has the potential to enrich the University functions and assured partners of the University’s continued support. He encouraged involvement of the community, the faculty and students.

The Dean School of Nursing Midwifery and Paramedical Sciences (SONMAPS), Mr. John Arudo reiterated that this is an excellent project and that MMUST has the right human resource to move the research agenda forward. He also pointed out that Kakamega County is a neighbor to counties with the highest prevalence in HIV cases, therefore making this partnership timely.

Prof. John Okoth who is also a member of the MMUST Immunify.Life research team, stated that drug addiction among the youth is a problem in Kenya as well as mental health which is another challenge facing a large number of the population. “Such projects can help to bring about solutions across Africa through the support of our international partners.”

 By: Wilberforce ShiunduMary Wangari Wambugu

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