Kemri defends decision as Raila wades into institute director’s sacking

Monday, April 27th, 2020 00:00 |
Dr Joel Lutomiah.

The government has defended the decision to sack Dr Joel Lutomiah as the Centre for Virus Research Director. 

Meanwhile, Opposition leader, Raila Odinga called on the strengthening of biotechnology, genetic engineering and biomedical engineering as modern solutions required to overcome pandemics.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary, Dr Rashid Aman said the decision to relieve the scientist in charge of testing for the coronavirus  of his duties at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) was administrative and internal.

“Government’s swork is to keep the eye on the ball and focus on what is important. If there was a problem of transmission of test results in time, then it is our role as government to ensure that it is done for the wider good of the country,” said Aman.

He said that whatever decision was made was meant to implement co-ordination.

The institution has the largest testing capacity in the country. Kemri Director-General Yeri Kombe asked Dr Lutomiah to put in place the necessary infrastructure to respond to the pandemic.

He was the chairman of the Kemri Rapid Response, which is in charge of laboratories and would appear before the Ministry of Health committee to give the position of the institute on Covid-19.

On his twitter account yesterday morning, Raila, the Africa Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development, said innovation for healthcare can be done in Kenya looking at the capacity the country has to be able to counter health pandemics such as the Covid-19.

So far since the first positive case was announced in early March, the virus has claimed 14 people in the country.

Raila however, noted that for this to happen the country and by extension Africa, must rethink her strategies if it intends to go beyond the post Coronavirus pandemic.

“Devastating, as Covid-19 will be to Africa, the continent will survive, recover and rise again. But it is what we do with the rise that will make the difference to the next generation.

“Post Covid-19, we in Africa will have to thoroughly review our health, agriculture, manufacturing, education and social safety net policies, according to the lessons learnt,” said Raila. 

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