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Kenya put on high alert over bio-terrorist attack

Posted by Administrator on December 21, 2011

The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has put the country on high alert over the possibility of a bio-terrorism attack.

With the ongoing fight against Al Shabaab, the research institute admitted that bio-terrorism posed the biggest threat to the country.

According to KEMRI director Dr Solomon Mpoke, if not well handled the attack could be used as a weapon of mass destruction.

To this effect, Mpoke said that they had heightened security to make sure that the deadly pathogens in their facility did not land in the wrong hands.

“We have secured our fence and heightened security and in conjunction with our collaborators designed alert systems in case of a mysterious disease outbreak,”

The director at the same time said that they were working on the reduction of TB treatment period from the current six to four months.

Despite facing various challenges the institute according to the director had managed to protect 55 percent of the minors from contracting Malaria.

On his part, KEMRI chairman Dr Edwin Muingia expressed his concern that the body was losing its best scientists to other countries due to low wages.

This he attributed to the funding as out of the Sh9B annual budget, the government contributed a partial 1B with donors chipping in.

“The government is supposed to allocated two percent of its budget to research but that is not the case and this is costing the country dearly,”

And with the coming in of the devolved government, Muingia said that plans were underway to make sure the institute was represented in every County.

Dr Elizabeth Bukusi the deputy director in charge of research and training said that they had made significant strides in the fight against HIV Aids.

Bukusi said that a study conducted on discordant couples indicated that early treatment for HIV Aids reduced chances of spreading the disease to partners by 96 percent.

“We are currently working on the male to male transmission of HIV Aids mainly in the Coast and it’s a serious problem due to phobia and stigma attached to the issue,”

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