Varsity Granted Sh39.7 Million To Study Kenya’s Aging Population.
Aga Khan University in Nairobi has been awarded a Sh39.7 million grant to study the country’s aging population.
The university stated in a statement that the work will begin immediately, with a focus on adults aged 45 and up.
Alzheimer’s disease, mental health, the economic impacts of climate change and air pollution, and factors influencing late-life economic well-being will be among the key focus areas.
“Over the next 30 years, as Kenyans live longer and require different types of care, social structures will need to change,” said Dr. Anthony Ngugi, interim chair of the department of population health and co-principal investigator of the study.
“It is vital to begin studying both population-level trends and individual ageing trajectories to understand risk factors for health, disability, and well-being in the Kenyan context.”
The number of people over 60 in Africa is expected to rise from 5.6 percent currently to more than 15% by 2050.
However, the university stated in a statement that there is very little data on the aging population.
To close these gaps, the university and the Center for Global Health Equity applied for and were awarded a $338,000 (Sh39.7m) grant from the National Institutes of Health in the United States.
The grant, according to the university, will fund pilot research to lay the groundwork for future grant applications aimed at launching the full-scale Longitudinal Study of Health and Aging in Kenya, a cohort study of Kenyan adults aged 45 and older.
The study will enroll thousands of people and follow them for years.
The Kaloleni/Rabai Community Health and Demographic Surveillance System, a population-based research platform with over 14,000 people over the age of 45 living in Coastal Kenya, is used in the study.
“Our partners at AKU have strong relationships with communities in the coastal region, and the trust and understanding they’ve built make all the difference in the quality of the research,” says the researcher.
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Dr. Josh Ehrlich, research assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and co-principal investigator, stated
Dr. Ngugi and Dr. Ehrlich will use preliminary data and findings from this phase to improve the study’s infrastructure and, eventually, to propose a larger rollout in Kenya to field a nationally representative sample.