Ameyo Bonventure Masakhwe
GFMER Coordinator for Kenya
Dr. Ameyo Bonventure Masakhwe, M.B.Ch.B, Msc. International Health
Dr. Bonventure Ameyo Masakhwe studied the diploma of the Institute for Management of Information Systems (IMIS) at Strathmore University in 2002 (then Strathmore college) and graduated from the University of Nairobi in 2007 with Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery (M.B.Ch.B). After a year of internship, he served in the far-flung underserved arid region of Turkana in northern Kenya where he had the opportunity to manage neglected diseases like visceral leishmaniasis, echinoccocosis and gunshot injuries. Service in the austerity of Turkana has since bequeathed him with unique skills such as ability to perform splenic aspirates for kalazar patients as well as working with minimal resources (including supervision), before he secured an Italian Foreign Affairs Ministerial scholarship to study international health at University of Parma. He also holds professional certificates in the interrelated fields of communicable diseases, health economics and reproductive health research such as Governance in Urban Sanitation (2009) organized by United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); TB/HIV co-management (2009) organized by ARCAN; Communicable Diseases Control in Humanitarian Emergencies (2009) organized by the World Health Organization; Basics of Health Economics (2010) organized by the World Bank Institute; Mission Preparedness, the Psychosocial Dimension (2010) jointly organized by United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna di Studi Universitari di Perfezionamento, Pisa, Italy; From Research to Practice, Training Course in Reproductive Health Research (2011), jointly organized by the Geneva foundation for Medical Education and Research (GFMER) and the Department of Reproductive Health of the World Health Organization; Health System Strengthening and Management (2012), delivered by the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF).
Being motivated by research especially if it transforms discovery into delivery that further strengthens primary care with attendant increase in universal health coverage, he was a prize winner of the 2010 joint Lancet/First Global Symposium for Health Systems Research/Global Forum for Health Research competition on health systems strengthening. He was subsequently invited to present his ideas at the inaugural symposium organized by WHO and other partners. He enjoys travelling, writing, dancing and has a good sense of humor.
- 2011 Geneva State chancellery travel grant to attend GFMER course.
- 2010 Winner of The Lancet/First Global Symposium for Health Systems Research/Global Forum for Health Research in their joint Young Voices in research competition on health systems research.
- 2010 Honors in master of International Health, University of Parma.
- 2010 Tester of the pilot United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) course: Civilian Protection against Sexual Violence, Exploitation and Abuses.
- 2010 United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)/German government travel/study sponsorship.
- 2010 Italian Foreign Ministerial/CUCI scholarship.
- 2009 WHO sponsorship to attend the short course on communicable diseases control.
- 2002 Strathmore College/Commonwealth scholarship.
Kenya, through the ambitious Vision 2030, aims to be “a middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment” to its population of 40 million plus people according to the 2009 census. This is a positive commitment that the government has made to its populace whose collective memory also remembers other international agreements that Kenya has bound itself to. These include the ICPD which focuses on population and development-related efforts of increasing access to reproductive health services and promotion of gender equality all which are gestures towards achievement of the MDGs, another of Kenya’s commitments. However, one in every fourteen children born today may not see the light of 2030, and the maternal mortality ratio of 488 deaths per 1000 live births making Kenya a country of focus according to WHO, means that the mountain is still far from being ploughed down. In Kenya, by age 19 years, more than a quarter of the adolescents have had a delivery with the risk of maternal death from this being four times greater in the 15-19 years women than in their 24-29years counterparts (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and ICF Macro., 2010). According to the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey (KAIS) of 2007, young people aged 15-24 years have a HIV prevalence of 3.8% compared to the overall national prevalence rate of 7.1%. Still, 50% of new infections in Kenya occur in this age group. The Kenya Demographic Health Survey of 2008-09 further gives some indicators (see http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/pdf/FR229/FR229.pdf).
Reproductive health strategy
Kenya aims to improve the reproductive health of all people within its borders through the National Reproductive Health Policy that it adopted in 2007, whose guiding principle in its implementation is adoption of evidence-based practices. In this regard, the Division of Reproductive Health (DRH) had, in 2006, developed guidelines for researchers to use when conducting research in Kenya. This required researchers to submit their proposals to DRH before onset of research activities, as well a final report that would be deposited in a central database. DRH also developed a short course in operations research for its staff and implementers, meant to boost program managers’ ability to make decisions informed by evidence. Thus far, two RH research agendas have been developed, the first being the2004-2008 agenda which also formed the nucleus of the 2006 research guidelines. Its comprehensive review by DRH and other stakeholders led to its tweaking in order to conform to the changing needs in the field as well as aspects that had been overlooked previously. The 2010-2014 RH research agenda is a fruition of this review, whose priority areas of research fall within the following broad categories:
- Family planning
- Safe motherhood, maternal and neonatal health
- Gender issues, sexual and reproductive rights
- Sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents and the youthf the Reproductive System
- Cancers of the reproductive system
- HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections
- Reproductive health support systems, health systems research
On top of the above, other emerging issues such as reproductive health of internally displaced, the elderly, physically- and mentally-disabled persons as well as financing options in RH present a budding field for researchers in Kenya to explore.
GMFER activities in Kenya
GMFER has a total of 12 members in Kenya to-date (see GFMER members pages). It is hoped that the number will increase in the coming years and envisioned that an alumni formed will maintain contact within and without as a means of ensuring that the knowledge gathered by members percolates widely, improving reproductive health in Kenya, as well as fostering members’ professional development.