Kenyan government advised to tap into nuclear energy for cancer diagnosis

Prof. Shaukat Abdulrazak, the Director International Atomic Energy Agency, Africa Program, said about 75 per cent of the African population don’t have access to treatment of cancer, hence nuclear energy offers a valuable opportunity.

Abdulrazak said his agency is collaborating with various African countries including Kenya on ways to convert atomic energy for peaceful use including production of electricity and food security.

“If you want to move forward with the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, nuclear energy should be an important ingredient in that mix. We shall continue cooperating with Kenya to make sure this source of energy becomes a reality,” he said.

Abdulrazak spoke during the opening of the 3rd Multi-sectoral Conference on Research, Science, Technology and Innovation at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi which drew scientists from across the region and globe.

Kenya can also leverage on the use of nuclear energy in enhancing food security as well as production of clean energy.

“Food insecurity has been a major challenge and this technology can be used, in what we call mutation breeding, where we can develop varieties that can withstand certain challenges including drought, soil salinity among others,” he noted.

Prof Abdulrazak added, “We are here to contribute to the large agenda of Science Technology and Innovation for social economic development”.

While officially opening the forum, PS State Department for Higher Education and Research, Dr. Beatrice Inyangala said there is need for Kenya to raise the funding for research, technology and innovation.

The State is working closely with development partners to raise adequate resources, she said, adding that research requires multiple funding streams.

“We are optimistic that through partnerships, at University to University level and with our development partners, we will be able to raise sufficient funding for research in our country,” Dr Inyangala said.

She added that the government has already moved towards evidence-based policy making and is eager to harness research findings from various fields, sectors and universities.

“Like now we are talking about greening the economy, moving towards clean power, environmental protection among others, research will be fundamental to show us what works and what would work so that we develop programmes based on the evidence to reap maximum benefits for our people,” she said.

Her ministry is encouraging research, technology and innovation from basic learning through the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

“We want to widen the scope of research to include medical, agricultural, educational and other spheres and now that we are moving towards the CBC curriculum, we are emphasising on building skills and teaching our children to do research at an early age,” remarked Inyangala.

Prof Raphael Munavu, a Board member of the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation which is organising the four-day conference said one of the challenges facing scientists is “communicating science which many think is a complicated subject”.  

Munavu, who is also the Chairman Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms asked the media to help simplify scientific innovations using simple language and also for the private sector to incorporate scientific research.

The Deputy Chief of Staff in the Public Service Josphat Nanok called on researchers to come up with innovative ways of mitigating climate change that has resulted in flash flooding and prolonged periods of drought.

“I call upon key players including industry, academia and public institutions, local and international communities to foster a common front in resource mobilisation in the face of these challenges,” Nanok said.

During the conference opening ceremony, 12 more research institutions were awarded with certificates of registration bringing the total number of registered research institutions in the country to 33.

Some of the Institutions include the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation, Kenya Academy of Sports, Women Education Researchers of Kenya, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, International Cancer Institute, Mhealth Kenya among others.

Nacosti Director General Prof Walter Oyawa reiterated that certification of the institutions is geared towards promoting research, science and innovation for the socio-economic growth and development of the country.

 Also, during the event, eminent scientists and personalities including Nobel laureate Prof Wangari Maathai, leading researchers Prof Thomas Odhiambo and Prof Calistus Juma, among others, were honoured with awards posthumously.


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