Prof. Walter Oyawa – Director General, National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) held a meeting with Prof. Mable Imbuga, EBS, Chairperson, NACADA and Mr. Victor Okioma, EBS, CEO, NACADA on Tuesday, 13th July 2021. In attendance was Mr. Boniface Wanyama – Ag. Director of Research Accreditation and Quality Assurance, Dr. David Njubi – Ag. Director for Scheduled Sciences, Mr. Godfrey Kalerwa – Chief Research Quality Assurance Officer and Ms. Margaret Muthee – Chief Analyst, Humanities and Social Sciences
Prof. Oyawa welcomed the team to the meeting whose aim was to discuss ways to collaborate in the realization of respective institutional mandates briefly explained NACOSTI’s establishment, mandate and functions as provided in the Science, Technology and Innovation Act No. 28 of 2013. He broadly highlighted the functions as provided in Section 6 of the STI Act namely, regulation, promotion, coordination, advisory and awareness creation on STI. The Chairperson of NACADA thanked the DG and NACOSTI’s team for arranging the meeting noting that research is an important aspect in NACADA’s programmes. It is only through research that the institution can develop and implemented well informed programmes to address the growing alcohol and drug abuse (ADA) menace which has rendered many youth unproductive, with some losing their lives at an early age. She invited the CEO to provide a brief description of NACADA’s mandate and programmes. Prof. Imbuga highlighted that it has a directorate to deal with research on various aspects of ADA for the provision of accurate and timely data and information to inform internal and external policies as well interventions to address the growing Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ADA) problem. Some of the priority research areas highlighted during the meeting are;
- National survey carried out every 5 years to assess the prevalence of ADA in the country.
- Prospects for indigenous/alternative treatment to drug addiction – this is informed by the high cost and over-reliance on the existing medication for addiction management (Methadone), yet there could be other readily available options and cheaper options which have not been explored; and emerging substances of abuse, a practice that is driven by availability and misuse of industrial chemicals.
The two institutions discussed opportunities for collaboration and partnership. Based on the areas of research identified, it was agreed that there several ways in which the two institutions can collaborate to ensure research on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ADA) remains a priority. These include:
- NACADA’s involvement in review of research license applications related to ADA to provide advisory opinions on grant of research licenses to researchers
- Establishment and support of a research chairs program in universities- this requires seed funding and seeking additional funds from philanthropists
- Working together with NACOSTI and NRF to guide the development and operations of a research consortia on ADA to support research in the area as well as dissemination of research findings and recommendations to guide policy
- Engaging universities to encourage Masters and PhD students to undertake research on ADA
- Establishing collaboration county governments to ensure they set aside funds to support research on ADA
- Sharing expertise to support the planned national survey on ADA prevalence
- Allocate seed money to support research on alternative treatment for drugs addiction
The meeting agreed to:
- Develop and sign a memorandum of understanding to formalize NACADA and NACOSTI’s engagement
- Establish a joint team to immediately commence implementation of the action areas identified. The team proposed comprises the following: Dr. David Njubi, NACOSTI, Mr. Boniface Wanyama – NACOSTI, Prof. John Muteti – NACADA, Mr. Daniel Konyago – NACADA
It was agreed that the MoU will be signed by the end of July 2021