This morning I was graced to have an opportunity to spend about 4 hours at the Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute together with its Director Professor Gibson Kibiki.
Before I talk about my personal reflection of the institute, I would like you to visit its website (http://www.kcri.ac.tz ) so as to familiarize yourself with this Centre of Excellence on applied medical and biomedical research that is located on the foot of Mount. Kilimanjaro.
Well, as a researcher, I feel ashamed that I did not know that there is such a big and influential (regional and internationally) clinical research institute in my hometown. Of course, I was born and been treated in KCMC (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre), which is a sister organization to KCRI together with the Kilimanjaro University Medical College (KCM-College) all owned by the Good Samaritan Foundation (GSF) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT). However, apart from the hospital (KCMC), I’ve never paid much attention to the research activities going on in the vast hospital area.
Today’s visit to the institute was a defining moment. For once in my life, I wished I was a medical scientist. This is because of the impressive research going on there that has a direct impact on medical intervention and prevention of outbreaks diseases that turns to be epidemic. For the first time in my life, I put on a white jacket and was taken through different laboratory units well equipped with modern lab equipment. Some of these equipment are not anywhere else in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa, of course). I also visited the data/specimen bank, which stores specimen of all research done.
The research administration, data management institute, PhD and Post Doctoral research with local and international collaborations further impressed me. I thought I was in one of the UK’s institutes due to the evident high quality organization and management of the institute. There is a lot of capacity building going on and staff empowerment, which I observed from how the Director was engaging and interacting with researchers and all other supporting staff in the institute. The institute is also very clean and secured in a way that is not intimidating. For example, the doors are normal wooden doors but all them are mechanized with fingerprint scanners in the sense that outsiders cannot break in into labs.
Because I’m not a medical or biomedical scientist, I do not want to write much since I’m scared to under estimate. But I want to say, we have a resource in Tanzania and East Africa that needs to known to the public. The research that is conducted in KCRI is directly related to health care as it produces findings that have direct implication to the intervention and prevention of diseases.
Please visit the institute’s site for more information: http://www.kcri.ac.tz