The Expert Scientific Advisory Committee met in Nairobi, Kenya on 29th – 31st August 2016. Members of ESAC interviewed 39 candidates who were seeking post-doctoral fellowships in research for health. The rigorous interview exercise saw 20 award winning proposals being listed for award and are expected to conduct research at the counties under the (DReHPA) grant for a period of one year.
Background. The Devolved Research for Health in Priority Areas (DReHPA) Program was conceived after the Fourth Annual Research to Policy (R2P) Conference hosted by CNHR and MoH amongst other partners. The conference was held in November 2015 at the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha. One of the recommendations of the workshop was that research in Kenya was still done by national actors and had not been devolved adequately to the local actors. With devolvement of health care services to the county governments in Kenya today, it was necessary for CNHR to engage the county governments if indeed CNHR was going to address their challenges in health. It was also noted that there was need to upscale the research done in the counties to have adequate influence on Policy and Practice. The following broad areas encompass the targeted research for health areas – Emergencies, medicines and vaccines, chronic diseases and conditions, health equity, social and psychological determinants of health, health technology, health systems (financing, leadership and governance, human resource, facilities), environmental health, life course and infectious diseases.
CNHR therefore embraced an ecological model in research for health to address this need. The ecological model requires that all players in the research field work together in identifying their areas of priority in research for health, participate in the implementation of research, provide learning/ training opportunities for upcoming researchers and embrace outcomes of such findings through policy and practice. It is therefore hoped that the DReHPA grant will achieve the following:
- Provide opportunities in Research for Health for (22) twenty two postdoctoral applicants.
- Ensure that Research done at the county level is a priority to the county. This is best addressed by looking at the severity of the problem as presented by the applicant and the support from the County officers in charge of health. iii. Research done at the County has immediate policy and practice implications.
- Ensure an almost equal balance on Research for Health funded by CNHR and done at the various regions in the country – North Eastern, Upper Eastern, Lower Eastern, Nyanza, Western, North Rift, South Rift, Nairobi, Central and Coast regions.
- Ability for the research to contribute to training, building of networks and communities in research for health at the county and national level. The applicants will be affiliated to a research institution, university etc. where they can further their training and those of their peers/ young researchers in their institutions.
- Funding of grants is expected to last for a period of twelve (12) months beginning 1st October 2016
The DReHPA program is one of the avenues through which CNHR will make an increasing contribution to the generation of new evidence in research for health in Kenya.