HLA tissue-typing and kidney transplants in Kenya
In 1984 I was appointed the Director of the Biomedical Sciences Research Centre at KEMRI (Kenya Medical Research Institute). As a professional researcher what I did first was to find out how best I could participate in the development of new technology for ease of diagnosis and management of diseases, based on my training in immunology, pathology and pharmacology. Yes. At that time, I realized that even simple testing for individuals who needed organ transplants was being done in other countries. The tissue and blood samples were being sent to the UK, to Germany, or South Africa where the analysis would be done to identify possible donors and recipients, depending on who was the most appropriate individual genetically. I realized there were some issues with this process. One, there was a lot of cost involved in shipping these samples to Europe or South Africa. Two, it was taking too much time, putting patients at risk. And then lastly, three, patients were forced to wait for organs. I said myself, “Why do we do this?” And then I asked myself, “Did you go to school?” I said yes. “Do you know this subject?” I said yes. “Can we identify the problem?” I said yes.