President William Ruto has launched a new microbiology laboratory in Syokimau, Machakos County, that will enhance the quality and safety of locally manufactured pharmaceutical products.
The laboratory, located at the Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS), is the second of its kind in the country after the National Quality Control Laboratory, a public institution.
Speaking at the event on Wednesday, November 22, Ruto said that the government is committed to supporting the local pharmaceutical industry, which has the potential to create jobs and reduce the country’s dependence on imports.
“We believe in growing our domestic manufacturing capacity all around and are taking measures to accelerate the process. We are certain that local manufacturers can produce pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies competitively and win a greater domestic market while also exporting to our regional markets,” he said.
He added that the local production of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies accounts for 20 percent of the total medical expenditures in the country, which translates to a domestic market of Sh110 billion, of which Sh76 billion, or 70 percent, is made up of imports.
“This means that we have a huge opportunity to increase our local production and save on foreign exchange, while also creating more employment opportunities for our youth."
The MEDS laboratory, which cost Sh100 million to set up, is a private initiative by the Christian Health Association of Kenya and the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB).
The President commended the two religious bodies for their contribution to the health sector and their partnership with the government in providing solutions to the challenges facing the country.
The laboratory will perform various tests to ensure that medical products manufactured by MEDS and other local producers meet the required standards of quality and safety.
Some of the tests include sterility testing by membrane filtration, growth promotion test of microbiological media, microbiological assays, bacterial endotoxin testing, microbial limit testing, and bioburden testing.
It will also serve as a training and research facility for students and professionals in the field of microbiology and pharmaceutical sciences.
MEDS is one of the leading suppliers of essential medicines and medical supplies to health facilities in Kenya and across Africa, especially those run by faith-based organizations.
The organization also offers warehousing and distribution services, procurement and supply chain management, quality assurance and pharmacovigilance, and health systems strengthening.