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Life achievements by the Director Kenya Medical Research Institute – A shining star

Posted by African Press International on September 5, 2007

dkphoto.jpgDavy Kiprotich Koech

Bsc, MS, PhD, CuD, DSc, CBiol, FIBiol, FInstPM, SS, OGW, MBS.

Chief Research Officer, Director,Chief Eecutive: Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).

He is also a Professor of Immunology & Molecular Medicine.

DAVY KIPROTICH KOECH (born 1951) is a founder member, Chief Research Officer, Director and Chief Executive, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), a state-owned organization charged with the responsibility of carrying out health sciences research in Kenya.

He has been a member (1985-90), the Vice-Chairman (1990-95) and the Chairman (1995-2003) of the Commission for Higher Education; and the Vice-Chairman (1993-2003) of Council of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya.

In addition, he is a visiting professor of Immunology and Molecular Medicine (1989-date) in a number of universities. Also, Dr. Koech was the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry into the Education System of Kenya (1998-1999), that came up with a report titled Totally Integrated Quality Education and Training (TIQET) recommending major changes in Kenyas education system.

Education, Research and Professional Interests:

Dr. Koech holds three doctorates: Doctor of Science (DSc) from Moi University, and Cultural Doctorate (CuD) in Therapeutic Philosophy (1988) from the World University in the USA; a PhD degree in Medical Pathology (1980) specializing in immunology awarded by the University of Nairobi but partly undertaken at the Harvard University Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA while he was a Fulbright-Hays Scholar; an MS degree in Pharmacology (1977) specializing in Clinical Pharmacology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA and a BSc degree (1974) obtained from the University of Nairobi. Dr. Koech is also a Chartered Biologist (CBiol) (1984), a member (MIBiol)(1984-96) and a Fellow of the Institute of Biology (FIBiol) (1997-date) of the UK, and a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Managers (FInstPM) (1985-date) of Great Britain. In addition, he is a member of several professional societies including the Kenya Society of Clinical Pathologists, the Kenya Society for Immunology, the British Society for Immunology, the British Transplantation Society, the Royal Society of Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

For his postdoctoral work, Dr. Koech worked on the biology of parasitism at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA (1980) and at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Department of Academy of Sciences of the (then) USSR, Academgorodok, Novosibirsk, (then) USSR (1981).

Dr. Koech was among a group of scientists who in 1979 helped to set up KEMRI. He has developed an academic and health sciences research career investigating several immunological and other aspects of tropical and infectious diseases and has published widely in these areas with more than 260 published papers, in peer reviewed scientific journals and those presented in conferences, to his credit. In addition, he has authored books and co-edited several others.

He is best known for his direct contribution in research that, in 1990, led to the novel development of the drug, based on a formulation of a low-dose interferon alpha, for oropharyngeal use in the clinical management of HIV infections and AIDS as well as of viral hepatitis and related viral infections. He is also known for his pioneering work in the perfection of HLA tissue typing technique that led to the first living donor-related kidney transplant in Kenya in 1985. He has further introduced the DNA technology for this purpose. Since then, renal transplants have been routinely undertaken in Kenya. Recently, he has participated in the development of an insulin formulation, which is potential for oropharyngeal use in the clinical management of insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. He is also spearheading research into the clinical use of trioxolane in HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory infections as well a number of cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Koech has served as the Head of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases in the Ministry of Health (1981-84), Director of Clinical Research Centre of KEMRI (1982-84) and Director of the Biomedical Sciences Research Centre (1984-89) of KEMRI. He has supervised and/or examined more than 35 students for postgraduate (MMed, MSc, PhD) degrees of local and overseas universities and has been an external examiner in others.

Dr. Koech has also served in various committees of several international bodies including the World Health Organization, Commission of European Communities and the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency. He has been a Member (2001-date) of the Data Monitoring and Ethics Committee (DMEC) of the Kenya-Oxford-London HIV Vaccine Trials sponsored by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). He is also a founder member and a member of the Board of Directors of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), a Geneva-based international NGO.

National and International Honours and Awards:

Dr. Koech has been decorated with many national and international honours and awards and holds office in several professional societies. Some of the awards are the Distinguished Leadership Award (1986), the Commemorative Medal of Honour (1987), The World Lifetime Achievement Award (1998) and The 2000 Millennium Medal of Honour issued by way of Warrant of Proclamation given in honour of his outstanding achievements and dedication to personal and professional goals, all by the American Biographical Institute (ABI); and three Presidential awards (State investitures): the Silver Star (SS) of Kenya (1984), the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) of Kenya (1989) and the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) (1998), for his distinguished service to the nation. He is also the National Chancellor for Kenya (1993-date) representing the International Association for Educators for World Peace (NGO, UN and UNESCO). He is also cited in the International Register of Profiles and in the International Who is Who in Medicine, International Biographical Centre (IBC), Cambridge, England, from where he received a Certificate of Merit (1986). He is also one of the IBC nominees for the 1998 International Man of the Year and Most Creative and Successful Personalities of the World. In addition, Dr. Koech is a permanent Deputy Governor (DG)(1997-date) and Board Member of the American Biographical Research Institute Association. Dr. Koech was also selected by the Governing Board of Editors of the ABI as a great mind of the 21st Century due to significant accomplishments within the area of Health and Education, and listed in the reference premier edition of Great Minds of the 21st Century. Dr. Koech is also the 2002 nominee for the United Cultural Conventions International Peace Prize, and the basis for nomination being his impact on the international level of understanding and willingness to share his talents with others. In addition, Dr. Koech is the nominee of the International Whos Who of Professionals and the Ultimate Professional Directory has announced his selection as an Honoured Member of the WHOS WHO Historical Society for the Year 2003. Dr. Koech is listed in the East African Standards Century Magazine (15 November 2002) as one of the Top 100 Achievers of the Century who influenced Kenya most. He is listed in the category of Teachers, Academicians and Educationists. Because of his commitment to excellence in public service, Dr. Koech is a recipient of a Gold Medal from the Geneva-based Foundation for Excellence in Business Practice.

Through Dr. Koechs efforts, KEMRI received the Kenya Institute of Managements Company of the Year Awards (COYA) for Creativity and Innovation for four consecutive years (2001-2005) and the Parastatal of the Year Award for 2003 and 2005.

Professionally Related Humanitarian and Voluntary Activities:

Dr. Koech is the Editor-in-Chief (1994-date) of the African Journal of Health Sciences, a premier publication to disseminate scientific discoveries and innovations and to provide a forum for communication of research results and policy issues in the health sciences and related disciplines. Dr. Koech is the founding President (1994-date) of the African Forum for Health Sciences (AFHES), a continental body whose aim is to promote health care delivery, research and training in Africa. He is also the founder Chairman and trustee (1995-date) of the African Medical Services Trust (AMSET), a charitable trust whose mission is to bring appropriate medical service close to communities requiring such a service. Dr. Koech is a member (1988-date) of the International Council for Infectious Diseases, and a member (1995-date) of the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. In addition, he is a Trustee and Vice-President for Africa (1998-date) of the New York-based Global Health and Education Resources whose mission is similar to those of other charitable trusts in which he is a trustee plus additional attention to providing education and educational facilities and services to the less endowed members of the society especially in Africa. In November 2002, while at the WHO in Geneva, Dr. Koech was unanimously voted to be the Secretary of Africa-based Forum for African Medical Editors (FAME), a new continental body whose aim is to collaborate with the WHO in the promotion and sustainability of good quality medical publications coming out of Africa

API*APN isproud of this brilliant man’s achievements in life: Chief Editor Korir.

Lifted and published by Korir, African Press International (API)/ African Press in Norway (APN) tel +4793299739 or +4763002525 source. Kemri/African Journal of Health Sciences

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