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Strengthening Ties With Public Health Experts in Kenya

August 3/2021

DLSPH is renewing its partnership with Moi University’s School of Public Health in research and education opportunities around shared public health interests – particularly universal health coverage.

The renewal is part of a strategic plan to strengthen global health at DLSPH, including the establishment last year of the Centre for Global Health, which will support the relationship with Moi University, located in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya.

“As we sharpen our focus in global health, one of the biggest pushes is to deepen relationships with academic and other partners like the World Health Organization (WHO),” says Assoc. Prof. Erica Di Ruggiero, director of the Centre for Global Health. “Moi University was an obvious choice because of our shared interests and the work we’ve done together already through the AMPATH Consortium.”

Assoc. Prof. Erica Di Ruggiero

The two institutions already share a faculty member: Prof. Paula Braitstein, a Canadian epidemiologist who lives and works in the western highlands of Kenya, and serves as a visiting professor at Moi. Both schools share plans to deepen ties around implementation science and knowledge translation particularly in the context of universal health care and health systems strengthening.

Assoc. Prof. Paula Braitstein

“We’re co-creating research and educational opportunities in areas of mutual benefit,” says Di Ruggiero. “We have a publicly funded health system in Canada but we haven’t nailed the universal and equitable access challenge. We have tons to learn from Moi about implementing and scaling up public health and health system initiatives.”

The five-year renewal will allow the two schools to co-develop a Women in Global Health Leadership Program, and build an international training hub for women. Di Ruggiero is looking forward to establishing more opportunities for DLSPH faculty to supervise and mentor Moi students from Canada, particularly as the Kenyan university seeks to establish centres of excellence in global health and infectious diseases and in health system strengthening.

And the partnership allows DLSPH to connect with the longstanding AMPATH program, a  partnership between Moi University College of Health Sciences, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and a consortium of universities and academic medical centers from North America, including U of T’s Faculty of Medicine, to strengthen health care in Kenya and globally.

“Especially now, we’ve had so many calls to strengthen health systems and there are so many paths for doing that,” says Di Ruggiero. “There’s a real opportunity for us to learn together and in doing so, to link back to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I’m very excited about the possibilities we can offer to researchers and students at both schools.”

The renewed MOU and partnership with DLSPH presents unique opportunities for innovations in public health in the post-COVID-19 era.

Dean Mabel Nangami, Moi University School of Public Health

“This partnership provides the impetus to support strengthening county-level health systems in research towards achieving universal healthcare goals in line with the SDGs,” says Prof. Mabel Nangami, Dean of Moi University’s School of Public Health. “I have enjoyed working with staff at DLSPH because of their unique approaches to engaging all parties for mutual benefit of the institutions and the focus on trans-disciplinary strategy that ensures synergy in outcomes among partners.”