Kenya research center set to boost TCM

By WANG XIAODONG in Nairobi, Kenya| (China Daily)| Updated : 2023-10-30

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A new joint traditional medical and drug research center bringing together expertise from China and Kenya is set to boost R&D in the growing field, analysts said.

The center, in Kenyatta University of Kenya's capital Nairobi, will involve the research of traditional medicine in Kenya, the development of related drugs and the promotion of local pharmaceutical industries, Li Kejian, president of China's Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said during a ceremony unveiling the center on Oct 25.

Researchers from the center will also intensify the study of traditional Chinese drugs in Kenya and promote traditional Chinese medicine, in cooperation with local pharmaceutical companies so that TCM benefits more locals, he said.

The two universities also plan to jointly establish a clinical center in traditional medicine at Kenyatta University Hospital, Li said.

"As far as we know, traditional medicine is widely adopted in Kenya, and herbal drugs contribute more than 70 percent to the treatment of diseases in some tribes," Li said.

The center will boost TCM research that is closely linked with Kenya's traditional medicine, Li said, adding that some TCM drugs used in China originated in Kenya.

Cooperation welcomed

Paul Wainaina, Kenyatta University's vice-chancellor, said that the cooperation between the two universities comes at the right time.

"We used to have a small laboratory where we would analyze the efficacy of various herbal concoctions but the laboratory was inadequate," he said. "We want to be able to commercialize what we have. We are looking forward to looking at the herbal resources we have in Kenya and what the Chinese partners can contribute with a view of working together to produce supplementary medicine."

Nicholas Gikonyo, an associate professor in the School of Medicine at Kenyatta University, said personnel training and exchanges will also be an important part of the collaboration.

"We want our students to go to China for training in specialized Chinese medicine as traditional Chinese medicine is very unique," he said. "We also want to build capacity by having experts from the university in Shandong come here to train our staff."

TCM has been used in at least 196 countries and regions, providing healthcare to more than one-third of the world's population, according to China's National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Otiato Opali in Nairobi contributed to this story.