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Kenya Medical Research Institute

Fellowship Site Directors: Zachary Kwena, PhD; contact:  

Site Contact: Zachary Kwena, PhD,  


Site Specialties

  • Infectious and Parasitic Disease  
  • Sexual, Reproductive, Adolescent and Child Health   
  • Public Health and Health Research Systems  
  • One Health 
  • Non-communicable diseases  
  • Biotechnology  
  • Natural Products Research & Drug Development  

Site Description: The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) is a State Corporation established in Kenya in 1979 through the Science and Technology (Repealed) Act, Cap 250 of the Laws of Kenya operated under the Science Technology and Innovation Act, 2013 as the national body responsible for carrying out research in human health in Kenya. Currently, KEMRI operates under Legal Notice No. 35 of March 2021 with a vision of being ‘a leading centre of excellence in research for human health’ and a mission of ‘improving human health and quality of life through research, capacity building, innovation and service delivery’ . As a state corporation, KEMRI has mandate to: 

  • Carry out research in human health 
  • Cooperate with other research organizations and institutions of higher learning on matters of relevant research and training 
  • Liaise with other relevant bodies within and outside Kenya carrying out research and related activities 
  • Disseminate and translate research findings for evidence based policy formulation and implementation 
  • Cooperate with the Ministry of Health, the National Commission for Science, Technology & Innovation (NACOSTI) and the Medical Sciences Advisory Research Committee on matters pertaining the research policies and priorities 
  • Do all things as appear to be necessary, desirable or expedient to carry out its functions 

KEMRI has grown from its humble beginning over 40 years ago to become a regional leader in human health research. The Institute currently ranks as one of the leading Centers of excellence in health research both in Africa as well as globally. KEMRI is the medical research arm of the government and provides advice to the Ministry on various aspects of healthcare and delivery. The institute also carries out national diseases surveillance and rapid response for major disease outbreaks (Cholera, Chikungunya Virus, H1N1 Flu, Yellow Fever, Rift Valley Fever, Ebola, Aflatoxicosis etc). In line with the constitutional requirements, KEMRI has developed a comprehensive framework under which the institute has devolved its research activities and services, through seven regional clusters that serves the forty seven counties under the strategic pillar of health research in the context of devolution. KEMRI has provided (a) technical facilitation in development of national guidelines for prevention of cervix, breast and prostate cancers (b) technical and research support for the Emergency Care of Critically Ill Children (ETAT) guidelines; (c) developed a curriculum and guidelines on biosafety and biosecurity for health care workers in collaboration with MOH; (d) crationalization and regulation of traditional medicine and, (e) engaged human resource capacity development for research though attachments and through the KEMRI-JKUAT graduate program. 



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