Kenyatta University received a Sh69 million infrastructure grant from the National Research Fund to enable it set up and equip the research centre. It will be the first herbal research centre to be set up in Kenya. The center will be coordinated by Prof. Nicholas Gikonyo whose area of specialization is pharmacognosy and traditional medicine. Prof.Nicholas Gikonyo is an Associate Professor at the institution and also the founder and immediate chairman of the department of pharmacy and alternative medicine in Kenyatta University.
The new center is expected to build a vibrant natural health products industry through development and utilization of an interface between indigenous knowledge and modern science. It will support one of the four pillars of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s plan covering the health sector. Key areas will include documentation, profiling and securing indigenous knowledge, technologies and associated biological resources, scientific testing and validation. This is expected to yield locally derived natural health products.
With the facility, KU aims at entrenching the role of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the East Africa region for social and economic development. The Center will be utilized by University’s researchers from other institutions and researchers in the country and the region.It will be the country’s first National Reference Research Centre for herbal medicine.
According to Prof.Paul Wainaina who is the Vice Chancellor of the institution,the centre will help build a vibrant natural health products industry through development and utilization of an interface between indigenous knowledge and modern science, technology and innovations.He believes that the centre will also promote home-grown innovations for development and manufacture of products that meet national and international standards. The facility shall serve to upscale research products to commercialization and licensing levels while enhancing synergy between universities and industries.
Establishment of the centre at will also address part of Kenya vision 2030 on commercialization of research and development. The new Centre project targets natural health products and is expected to receive equipment to start running by August this year.