The Aga Khan University (AKU) has launched a research office in Mombasa to improve health and education in the coastal region, working closely with local government to define priority areas of focus.
The research office will help address many health-related challenges which have led to high morbidity and mortality from preventable illness in the region.
One such research initiative is the Access to Quality Care through Extending and Strengthening Health Systems project, a four-year, CAD$ 7.5 million (Ksh750 million), led by Professor Marleen Temmerman, Director, Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health AKU in East Africa, in collaboration with the County Governments, Aga Khan Foundation and Aga Khan Health Services.
The AQCESS initiative seeks to accelerate improvements in health outcomes for over 130,000 women, girls and boys under the age of 5 in Kaloleni and Bomachoge Borabu [Office1] sub-counties of Kilifi County, Coast Province and Kisii County, Nyanza Province, respectively.
“AKU sees research and data as a means of drawing solutions towards addressing healthcare challenges and, ultimately, improving the society. The University has a mandate not just to teach, train and offer healthcare services, but to perform all of these supported by research as a core element of day-to-day practice – and that is what this office is about,” said Professor Robert Armstrong, Dean, Medical College during the launch.
Professor William Macharia, Associate Dean, Research said that the research office is also aimed at improving the operations of the University in the Coast region and facilitating collaborative research.
“The research office will contribute to the overall vision of the University by conducting research that contributes to the global body of knowledge and advances public policy in response to the real needs of communities and people,” he added.
The office is expected to attract investment in projects, which will lead to positive behavior change and improve the quality of people’s lives in the region. It will also provide a platform for networking among various partners engaged in development initiatives in the Coast region.
The main beneficiaries will be local communities who will benefit from the various programs and research projects implemented by the University, and the County Governments whose efforts the programs will supplement.
The launch was attended by officials from Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale County Governments, AKU and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)[Office2] representatives in Mombasa.
AKU and other AKDN agencies have worked in partnership with the County Governments, the coastal communities and various stakeholders for several years, implementing programs aimed at improving education levels and the health of families and communities.