The year 2017 was a good year for NRHS as it continued to pursue its mission of improving the health and quality of life of individuals and communities in Kenya and beyond. It did this through its contributions to programs designed to prevent diseases, reduce morbidity and address the reproductive health needs of Kenyan men and women, while it also conceived, initiated and executed innovative research projects to inform and drive evidence-based programs in the future. This annual report reviews these diverse programs and research projects, as well as some of the activities that NRHS leadership and staff engaged in during 2017. However, it can only scratch the surface of all that NRHS does and the many ways in which it contributes to health-related policy and practice within and outside of Kenya.
I am writing this introduction because our previous Director, Dr. Edmon Obat, departed NRHS in December 2017. We are pleased that Dr. Obat was able to secure a position of leadership and great responsibility in another organization, and we are happy for him as he moves on in his career and grateful for his contributions to the success of NRHS. As Secretary of the Board and a co-founder of NRHS, I was appointed by the Board to take on the Directorship in an Interim capacity to ensure continuity. This arrangement is working well as the Board explores the hiring of a new full time Director.
NRHS is only as effective as the people who make up the organization. We are very fortunate to have highly skilled and dedicated staff who are truly passionate about improving the lives of others and about making NRHS as good as it can be. In 2017, staff soldiered on even in the face of national and local political turmoil that sometimes spilled over to violence. Sometimes just getting to work or getting home from work was a life-risking challenge, yet many kept coming and kept serving our clients and research participants. The disruptions to our work and to fulfilling our mission could have been much worse had NRHS staff not been as doggedly committed to excellence. We are grateful.
NRHS is blessed to have a Board of Directors, under the leadership of Prof. Walter Jaoko, whose experience and commitment have resulted in marked improvements in the structure and management of the organization in myriad ways. We are grateful to the Board for the time and thought that they contribute to NRHS. They all are very busy people with their own careers and projects to pursue, yet they take their time from those commitments to contribute their experience and wisdom to making NRHS a better organization.
NRHS divides its activities by those that are primarily programmatic (Programs) and those that are primarily research (Research). However, NRHS is committed to contributing to improving the health and quality of life of Kenyans through focusing on a continuum that begins with sound research to generate evidence that forms the basis for policy and advocacy that is translated to effective action in the form of programs. In this sense, it is not our intention to compartmentalize NRHS activities, but rather to emphasize their integration and synthetic nature. Nevertheless, in this report we present our activities and accomplishments achieved during the calendar year 2017 under the rubrics of Programs and Training, Research and Other.
To our members of the Board, our staff, our donors and especially to our clients and the communities we serve, I take this opportunity to wish you all a safe, prosperous and healthy 2018.
Robert C. Bailey, PhD, MPH
Interim Director NRHS
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