The Terik community received back its indigenous innovation, Ujiplus, from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) on 22nd April 2023. The product, a unique herbal porridge flour with deworming capabilities, was submitted to KEMRI by TEPAD Kenya in 2007 for quality testing and clinical trials. The formulation of the product and clinical trials received research funding support from various organizations including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, Africa Academy of Science and Grand Challenges Canada.
“We are happy to bring back the product to the community after long years of safety and clinical trials ‘said Prof Elijah Songok, Ag Director General of KEMRI who was the Principal Investigator of the Ujiplus project. “We don’t keep what is not ours. “
Thanking Prof Songok and KEMRI, the Chairman of Terik Council of Elders Mr John Bor warned naysayers who have been peddling falsehoods that the product belonged to KEMRI “Let them try to take away our indigenous knowledge and we shall respond with all legal means available to us. We are an endangered community and those from big tribes who are jealous of our achievement shouldn’t put hurdles in our way. Let them look for their own indigenous knowledge and approach KEMRI for partnership, the way we have done”.
Speaking at the same function, Elisha Abwao, the project local coordinator thank Grand Challenges Canada and all other organizations who provided the funding support to the project. Grand Challenges Canada in particular funded the business model of the Ujiplus project including, registration of a start-up company Terik Foods and Nutraceuticals Ltd to drive the business aspect of Ujiplus.
“As part of the study proposal, we have been doing trial sales of Ujiplus in Nairobi, Kirinyaga and other areas to gauge its marketability and we are satisfied we have a product in demand.” Elisha said. “we urge our community members to look forward to call for shares in the start-up company, Terik Foods and Nutraceuticals Ltd, when it begins to pick up.”