Members of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) recently participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Kenya Veterinary Vaccine Production Institute (KEVEVAPI) to celebrate the provision of a new Effluent Treatment System (ETS) December 7, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Since 2012, DTRA’s Biological Threat Reduction Program (BTRP) has partnered with the Government of Kenya at six different human and animal health facilities across the country. BTRP’s support to KEVEVAPI represents the first major renovations at this facility since 1952, with a new design that will increase biosafety and biosecurity at the facility and allow for increased vaccine production. The commissioning of the new, modern ETS strengthens the work already being done by the Government of Kenya and KEVEVAPI to reduce the risk of widespread outbreaks of diseases in Kenya and on the African continent.
Dr. Robert Pope, Director of Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) at DTRA, said that KEVEVAPI and DTRA’s partnership not only ensures Kenya is a safer country, but together contributes to the wider Global Health Security Agenda vision to increase regional, continental and global standards in disease detection, diagnostics and monitoring.
“We greatly appreciate the Government of Kenya’s commitment to the detection and prevention of zoonotic diseases,” said Pope. “Our Kenyan partners hold an enormous amount of my personal respect for demonstrating that multinational partnerships are the foundation on which global health security stands,” he said.
Kenya partner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KEVEVAPI, Dr. Jane Wachira, said she appreciates how far they have come working with DTRA the past 11 years, beginning with bio-risk management training.
“DTRA created awareness to us on how we need to deal with biosafety and biosecurity in our country,” said Wachira. “Our partners at DTRA introduced bio-risk management systems to us and whatever development we do here, we are taking into account the biosafety and biosecurity,” she said.
Distinguished guests at the ceremony, including Pope, were invited by the Government of Kenya to plant trees at KEVEVAPI symbolizing multinational cooperation between the two nations.
“Each time I return to Africa, I think about that tree growing strong in the Kenya soil,” said Pope. “Our partnership has deep roots that ensure we remain grounded to our shared vision of disease prevention. I hope that as those trees grow, so too, does biosafety and security on the African Continent,” he said.
For more information on DTRA’s Biological Threat Reduction Program in Kenya and other activities around the world, visit www.dtra.mil.