The Kenyan team in the GCRF-funded project on Innovation for Cancer Care (ICCA), at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), held an inception workshop on 22nd February 2019, at the Silver Springs Hotel in Nairobi. ICCA-Kenya is led from KEMRI by Dr Mercy Karimi Njeru, with her co-investigator Dr Veronica Manduku. The workshop aimed to introduce the project objectives and methodology to key stakeholders in Kenya, focusing in particular on the importance of linking industrial and social innovation for cancer care. In Kenya, the researchers are based at the Centre for Public Health research in KEMRI, and the Kenyan team collaborates with co-investigators from Tanzania and India as well as the UK. The Principal Investigator for the project is Professor Maureen Mackintosh at The Open University. Dr Fortunata Makene, who leads the ICCA-Tanzania team undertaking parallel research was also present, and she and Dr Karimi Njeru jointly presented the project methodology to the workshop.
The workshop participants included senior stakeholders from both industrial and health fields. Presentations were made by the head of the Ministry of Health’s National Cancer Control Programme, and the CEO of the National Cancer Institute of Kenya. Other participants represented the National Cancer Registry, the Kenya Network of Cancer Organisations, the Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association, and the Cancer Survivors Association of Kenya. Presenters from the industrial sector included a senior government official from the Ministry of Industry and trade, department for Industrialisation; also the Chair of the Federation of East African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (FEAPM), Mr Nazeem Mohamed, who is an adviser to the ICCA project; and the CEO of Villgro-Kenya, an active promoter of local innovation. The Director of the Federation of Kenya Pharmaceutical Manufacturers was also an active participant. Regulatory bodies represented included the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, and participants included clinicians from two major hospitals engaged in cancer care. Debate was lively, and guidance on development of the research was much appreciated by researchers, as were the many offers of continuing involvement. We thank all the participants for their time and involvement, and look forward to continuing interaction as the project develops, to ensure that the project serves its objective of helping to improve local cancer care.