Dr. Vera Manduku

Dr. Veronica Kemunto Manduku

Deputy Director CCR

Dr. Veronica Manduku  has a background in diagnostic imaging. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery from Pune University, India (1996) and a Masters in Medicine in Diagnostic Imaging from the University of Nairobi (2003). As a director, she coordinates a robust research team with expertise in clinical trials, epidemiology and basic sciences within several research stations including the Nairobi, Kisumu, Kericho and Thika counties. The team typically undertakes research in key infectious diseases like HIV, Malaria, Leishmaniasis, Sickle cell disease and a good number in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like Mental and dental health, cancer, child and adolescent health, reproductive health among others.

Her objectives are in improving quality of cancer care in Kenya through research and enhanced understanding of cancer and other major NCDs.
She is also keen in chest imaging with her past work being in supporting the Malaria vaccine trial and the Pneumonia Etiology survey in radiation safety, standardization of reading and review of images. In 2015, she was the lead imaging expert in the first ever Kenya National Tuberculosis Survey.

She supports MOH through various technical working groups in cancer control program.
She is currently the chair of the Kenya Society for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (KESUMB). A member of African Society of Radiologists (ASR).

In the past she has served as a board member in the Kenya Radiation Protection Board (KRPB) and chair, Kenya Association of Radiologists (KAR).

Research Interests
  1. Cancer prevention, screening and diagnosis
  2. Chest imaging and Tuberculosis.
  3. Implementation science in NCD’s
Current Research Work
  1. Kenyan PI –: Inactivation of the PRH/HHEX tumor suppressor and its effects on inflammatory signaling in prostate cancer. (Joint NRF/MRC funded proposal: 2019)
  2. Co-Investigator: How to link industrial and social innovation for inclusive development: lessons from tackling the “hard case” of cancer care in Africa (ESRC Funded: November 2018)
  3. Co- Investigator: Systematic review of Oncology in Kenya NRF funded Ongoing study. 20184) Principle investigator: Pattern and factors associated with use of psychoactive substance among female commercial sex workers in Kibra, Nairobi County. IRG/ GOK funding 20175)
  4. CO- Investigator: Spatial distribution and epidemiology of cancers in Kenya: mapping the disease burden. IRG/ GOK funding 20176)
  5. Co- investigator: Assessing health factors and experiences associated with Khat handling and chewing in selected areas of Kenya. GOK Funded 2016
Selected Publications
  1. Khat use and psychotic symptoms in a rural Khat growing population in Kenya: a household survey, BMC Psychiatry (2019) 19:137 Linnet Ongeri, Fredrick Kirui, Erastus Muniu, Veronica Manduku, Leah Kirumbi, Lukoye Atwoli, Safari Agure, Peter Wanzala, Lydia Kaduka, Mercy Karimi, Richard Mutisya, Elizabeth Echoka, Joseph Mutai,David Mathuand Charles Mbakaya.2.Schooling In The Midst of KHAT Growing, Chewing and Trading. OSR Journal of Research & Method in Education (IOSR-JRME) e-ISSN: 2320–1959.p-ISSN: 2320–1940 Volume 9, Issue 2Ser. I. (Mar. -Apr.2019), PP 59-67www.iosrjournals.org
  2. Safari Agure, LCM Mbakaya, Erastus Muniu, Lydia Kaduka, Leah Kirumbi, Fredrick Kirui, Peter Wanzala, Veronica Manduku, Linnet Ongeri, Joseph Mutai, Elizabeth Echoka, Prisca Otambo, Mercy Karimi.
  3. Prevalence of Parental Bereavement Among Female Sex Workers (FSW) in Kibra, Kenya, Journal of Loss and Trauma, 24:2, 129-142, DOI: 10.1080/15325024.2018.1560692
    Christy A. Denckla, Linnet Ongeri, Linet Ouma, Benson Singa, Charity Maingi, Rose Bosire, Phelgona Otieno, Danvers Omolo, David C. Henderson, Lori B. Chibnik, Karestan C. Koenen & Veronica Manduku (2019)
  4. Kenya tuberculosis prevalence survey 2016: Challenges and opportunities of ending TB in Kenya. PloS one, 13(12), e0209098. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0209098
    Enos, M., Sitienei, J., Ong’ang’o, J., Mungai, B., Kamene, M., Wambugu, J., Kipruto, H., Manduku, V., Mburu, J., Nyaboke, D., Ngari, F., Omesa, E., Omale, N., Mwirigi, N., Okallo, G., Njoroge, J., Githiomi, M., Mwangi, M., Kirathe, D., Kiplimo, R., Ndombi, A., Odeny, L., Mailu, E., Kandie, T., Maina, M., Kasera, K., Mulama, B., Mugi, B., … Weyenga, H. (2018).
  5. Case Definition of Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis in Resource-Constrained Settings. Emerging infectious diseases, 24(8), e171312. Denning, D. W., Page, I. D., Chakaya, J., Jabeen, K., Jude, C. M., Cornet, M., Alastruey-Izquierdo, A., Bongomin, F., Bowyer, P., Chakrabarti, A., Gago, S., Guto, J., Hochhegger, B., Hoenigl, M., Irfan, M., Irurhe, N., Izumikawa, K., Kirenga, B., Manduku, V., Moazam, S., Oladele, R. O., Richardson, M. D., Tudela, J., Rozaliyani, A., Salzer, H., Sawyer, R., Simukulwa, N. F., Skrahina, A., Sriruttan, C., Setianingrum, F., Wilopo, B., Cole, D. C., … Getahun, H. (2018)
  6. The standardized interpretation of chest radiographs in cases of pediatric pneumonia from the PERCH study. Clin Infect Dis 2017.(group publication) Fancourt N, Deloria Knoll M, Barger-Kamate B, De Campo J, De Campo M, Diallo M, Ebruke BE, Feikin DR, Gleeson F, Gong W, Hammitt LL, Izadnegahdar R, Kruatrachue A, Madhi SA, Manduku V, O’Brien KL.
  7. Preliminary report from the World Health Organisation Chest Radiography in Epidemiological Studies project. Pediatric radiology, 47(11), 1399-1404.
    Mahomed, N., Fancourt, N., de Campo, J., de Campo, M., Akano, A., Cherian, T., Cohen, O. G., Greenberg, D., Lacey, S., Kohli, N., Lederman, H. M., Madhi, S. A., Manduku, V., McCollum, E. D., Park, K., Ribo-Aristizabal, J. L., Bar-Zeev, N., O’Brien, K. L., … Mulholland, K. (2017).
Dr. Benson Singa
Research Scientist

Benson Singa is a research scientist at the Kenya Medical Research Institute’s, Centre for Clinical Research, Reproductive Health Research Unit. He has been a close collaborator on several studies of helminth, malaria, STI and HIV co-infection over the past years including programmatic evaluation.

Dr. Singa has served as a Principal Investigator (PI), a co-investigator and a medical coordinator on these studies. Singa’s background interest is in Public Health especially Sexual Reproductive Adolescent and Child Health (SRACH). These interest encompass both preventive, promotive and curative services. Additionally, Benson has interests in tropical medicine especially immune modulation and interaction between tropical diseases and HIV with having been involved in studies on current emerging issues and progress in this field especially given the continuing concern of barely contained tropical diseases and HIV infection around the globe.

Currently, Benson is involved in evaluating ongoing programs especially PMTCT program and HIV in children and adolescents in a bid to improve the preventive programs being implemented in the healthcare set up. Additionally, Dr. Singa has been involved in multi-Country, multi-site research studies (including clinical trials) in the area of Diarrhoea and Childhood Acute Illness and Nutrition

Research Grants

Antibiotics for Children with Severe Diarrhoea- ABCD Trial (Country PI)
Diarrhea remains a leading cause of death in children, and the majority of diarrhea deaths occur in children under two years of age living in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Three of the four leading infectious causes of diarrhea are potentially treatable with antimicrobial agents and antimicrobials have demonstrated a mortality benefit in certain high-risk children. The purpose of this double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial is to determine the efficacy of an antibiotic in reducing risk of death and malnutrition in children less than two years of age with diarrhea and dehydration or malnutrition.

A total of 11,500 children will be enrolled from seven study sites (Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Tanzania, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan) and randomized to a three-day course of azithromycin or placebo. Children will be followed to determine risk of death and linear growth faltering (a marker of chronic malnutrition) in the 180-days after study enrollment. Whole stool and rectal swabs will be collected from all children at enrollment. Rectal swabs will be collected from all children at 90-days and whole stool or rectal swabs from a subset of children and from another child or caregiver in their household at 90 and 180-days.

Nasopharyngeal swabs will be collected from a subset of children and another child in their household at 90 and 180-days. Infections identified from stool and nasopharyngeal swabs will be used to evaluate the impact of the antibiotics on enteric and nasopharyngeal pathogens and antimicrobial resistance.

The Kenya Medical Research Institute/University of Washington (KEMRI/UW) team will collaborate with investigators at all field sites for data analysis, but is primarily responsible for research conducted at the Kenya sites under guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) study coordinators.

Azithromycin to prevent post-discharge morbidity and mortality in Kenyan children: A protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.(Co-PI)

An estimated 3.5 million deaths occur annually in children less than five years of age in Sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 70% of which are due to infectious causes.[6] One-year mortality rates as high as 15% have been documented following hospital discharge in sub-Saharan Africa, a rate that is 8-fold higher than non-hospitalized children.[7-9] Children being discharged from hospital in Africa may represent an accessible high-risk population in which to target interventions to reduce mortality.

A recent trial of mass drug administration of azithromycin reduced childhood mortality by half among children in Ethiopia in communities receiving the intervention.[10, 11] However, concerns about the potential for the emergence of antimicrobial resistance, possible toxicity, and the feasibility of delivery are all barriers to community-wide distribution of antibiotics.

Targeted chemotherapeutic interventions, including the use of cotrimoxazole among HIV-infected children and the use of amoxicillin or cefdinir among malnourished children, have been shown to reduce mortality in these specific vulnerable populations.[12-15] Children who have been recently hospitalized

are a high-risk population in which a similar targeted approach to azithromycin distribution may optimize benefit while reducing both individual and population level risks.

The mechanisms by which azithromycin may impact morbidity and mortality have not been well described. Among high-risk pediatric populations with history of recent illness, azithromycin may act by treating residual disease not eliminated during inpatient therapy, by providing prophylaxis from future infectious exposures during a time of immune suppression and vulnerability following illness, by treating underlying enteric dysfunction and associated mucosal immune/gut barrier disruption and inflammation, and/or by clearing asymptomatic carriage of potentially pathogenic organisms.

We propose a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a 5-day course of azithromycin in children age 1 to 59 months discharged from Kisii Teaching and Homabay county Referral hospitals in Western Kenya to reduce post-discharge re-hospitalizations and mortality, to explore possible mechanisms by which azithromycin has benefit and risk, and to identify correlates and intermediate markers of re-hospitalization and death in the post-discharge period.

The proposed Toto Bora study will examine a pragmatic post-discharge intervention that could be used in low resource settings to lower mortality and re-hospitalization rates in high-risk children. In addition the trial will also explore a number of scientific questions including the effect of antibiotics on enteric and nasopharyngeal infections, inflammation, and the causes of post-discharge mortality. Kisii and Homabay counties are the ideal areas in Western Kenya to test this intervention because the child mortality rate is high in Nyanza province yet the health facilities in which this Toto Bora study will be conducted have established pediatric research infrastructure.

Selected Publications
  1. Nnedu ON, John-Stewart GC, Singa BO, Piper B, Otieno PA, Guidry A, Richardson BA, Walson J, 2012. Prevalence and correlates of insecticide-treated bednet use among HIV-1-infected adults in Kenya. AIDS Care 24: 1559-64.
  2. Walson J, Singa B, Sangare L, Naulikha J, Piper B, Richardson B, Otieno PA, Mbogo LW, Berkley JA, John-Stewart G, 2012. Empiric deworming to delay HIV disease progression in adults with HIV who are ineligible for initiation of antiretroviral treatment (the HEAT study): a multi-site, randomised trial. Lancet Infect Dis 12: 925-32.
  3. Arndt MB, John-Stewart G, Richardson BA, Singa B, van Lieshout L, Verweij JJ, Sangare LR, Mbogo LW, Naulikha JM, Walson JL, 2013. Impact of helminth diagnostic test performance on estimation of risk factors and outcomes in HIVpositive adults. PLoS One 8: e81915.
  4. Singa B, Glick SN, Bock N, Walson J, Chaba L, Odek J, McClelland RS, Djomand G, Gao H, John-Stewart G, 2013. Sexually transmitted infections among HIV-infected adults in HIV care programs in Kenya: a national sample of HIV clinics. Sex Transm Dis 40: 148-53.
  5. Walson JL, Sangare LR, Singa BO, Naulikha JM, Piper BK, Yuhas K, Onchiri FM, Otieno PA, Mermin J, Zeh C, Richardson BA, John-Stewart G, 2013. Evaluation of impact of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets and point-of-use water filters on HIV-1 disease progression in Kenya. AIDS 27: 1493-501.
  6. Gerns Storey HL, Richardson BA, Singa B, Naulikha J, Prindle VC, Diaz-Ochoa VE, Felgner PL, Camerini D, Horton H, John-Stewart G, Walson JL, 2014. Use of principal components analysis and protein microarray to explore the association of HIV-1-specific IgG responses with disease progression. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 30: 37-44.
  7. Pavlinac PB, John-Stewart GC, Naulikha JM, Onchiri FM, Denno DM, Odundo EA, Singa BO, Richardson AB, Walson JL, 2014. High-risk enteric pathogens associated with HIV infection and HIV exposure in Kenyan children with acute diarrhoea. AIDS.
  8. Pavlinac PB, Naulikha JM, Chaba L, Kimani N, Sangare LR, Yuhas K, Singa BO, John-Stewart G, Walson JL, 2014. Water Filter Provision and Home-Based Filter Reinforcement Reduce Diarrhea in Kenyan HIV-Infected Adults and Their Household Members. Am J Trop Med Hyg 91: 273-80.
  9. Onchiri FM, Pavlinac PB, Singa BO, Naulikha JM, Odundo EA, Farquhar C, Farquhar, C, Richardson BA, John-Stewart G, Walson, JL. Bacteremia Among Febrile Children in Areas of Differing Malaria Transmission in Rural Kenya: A Prospective Cross-sectional study. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society (JPIDS). (In press).
  10. Pavlinac PB, Naulikha JM, John-Stewart GC, Onchiri FM, Okumu AO, Sitati RN, Cranmer LM, Lokken EM, Singa BO, Walson JL. Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteremia among acutely febrile children in Western Kenya. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (AJTMH). (In press)
  11. Pavlinac PB, Denno DM, John-Stewart GC, Onchiri FM, Naulikha JM, Odundo EA, Hulseberg CE, Singa BO, Manhart LE, Walson JL. Failure of syndromebased diarrhea management guidelines to detect Shigella infections in Kenyan children. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society (JPIDS). (In press)
  12. Onchiri FM, Pavlinac PB, Singa BO, Naulikha JM, Odundo EA, Farquhar C, Farquhar, C, Richardson BA, John-Stewart G, Walson, JL. Frequency and correlates of malaria over-treatment in areas of differing malaria transmission: a cross-sectional study in rural Western Kenya. Malaria Journal 2015,14:97; PMC4349314
  13. Pavlinac PB, John-Stewart GC, Naulikha JM, Onchiri FM, Denno DM, Odundo EA, Singa BO, Richardson AB, Walson JL. High-risk enteric pathogens associated with HIV infection and HIV exposure in Kenyan children with acute diarrhoea. AIDS 2014; 28: 2287-2296; PMC4346243

Dr. Simon Njenga

Research Scientist

Dr. Njenga is a Paediatrician and Medical researcher with experience in conducting Clinical trials and Epidemiological studies. In KEMRI, Dr. Njenga has substantively contributed to scientific review process for over 15 years and has researched on and managed clinical Paediatric HIV for more than 20 years cumulatively

Research Grants
  1. The Double Burden of Malnutrition: Prevalence, Associated Risk Factors and the Impact of Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation Children 3-10 Years Old. A GOK grant
  2. A bioequivalent pilot study of a locally-produced brand of enalapril tablets: a key step towards implementation of bioequivalent study regulatory requirements in East Africa.

East Africa Community Grant, undergoing ethically approval

Selected Publications
  1. Efficacy and Safety of AmBisome in Combination with Sodium Stibogluconate or Miltefosine and Miltefosine Monotherapy for African Visceral Leishmaniasis: Phase II Randomized Trial
    Monique Wasunna , Simon Njenga, Manica Balasegaram, Neal Alexander, Raymond Omollo, Tansy Edwards, Thomas P. C. Dorlo, Brima Musa, Mohammed Hassan Sharaf Ali, Mohammed Yasein Elamin, George Kirigi, Rashid Juma †, Anke E. Kip, Gerard J. Schoone, Asrat Hailu, Joseph Olobo, Sally Ellis, Robert Kimutai, Susan Wells, Eltahir Awad Gasim Khalil, Nathalie Strub Wourgaft, Fabiana Alves, Ahmed Musa.
  2. Sodium Stibogluconate (SSG) & Paromomycin Combination Compared to SSG for Visceral Leishmaniasis in East Africa: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Ahmed Musa, Eltahir Khalil, Asrat Hailu, Joseph Olobo, Manica Balasegaram, Raymond Omollo, Tansy Edwards, Juma Rashid, Jane Mbui, Brima Musa, Abuzaid Abdalla Abuzaid, Osama Ahmed, Ahmed Fadlalla, Ahmed El-Hassan, Marius Mueller, Geoffrey Mucee, Simon Njoroge, Veronica Manduku, Geoffrey Mutuma, Lilian Apadet, Hudson Lodenyo, Dedan Mutea, George Kirigi, Sisay Yifru, Getahun Mengistu, Zewdu Hurissa, Workagegnehu Hailu, Teklu Weldegebreal, Hailemariam Tafes, Yalemtsehay Mekonnen, Eyasu Makonnen, Serah Ndegwa, Patrick Sagaki, Robert Kimutai, Josephine Kesusu, Rhoda Owiti, Sally Ellis, Monique Wasunna Published: June 19, 2012 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0001674
  3. Bettylou Sherry Embree J, Njenga, S et al Socio-demographic characteristics, care, feeding practices, and growth of children born to HIV-1 infected and uninfected mothers in Nairobi, Kenya. Tropical Medicine and International Health 2000 5(10) 678-686.
  4. 1998: Mother-Child Clan 1 HLA Concordance increases perinatal Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Transmission. The Journal of Infection Diseases 1998; 177: 551-6. Kelly S. MacDonald, Joanne Embree, Simon Njenga et al.

Dr. Jane Mbui

Research Scientist
Selected Publications
  1. Abeijon C, Alves F, Monnerat S, Wasunna M, Mbui J, Viana AG, Bueno LL, Siqueira WF, Carvalho SG, Agrawal N, Fujiwara R, Sundar S, Campos-Neto A.J. Development of a Multiplexed Assay for Detection of Leishmania donovani and Leishmania infantum Protein Biomarkers in Urine Samples of Patients with Visceral Leishmaniasis.Clin Microbiol. 2019 Apr 26;57(5). pii: e02076-18. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02076-18. Print 2019 May.

Dr. Linet Ongeri

Research Scientist

Dr. Ongeri is a researcher in the field of mental health working at the Centre for Clinical Research in the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and a current postdoctoral fellow in the Global Initiative for Neuropsychiatric Genetics Education in Research (GINGER) program, hosted jointly by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Having worked in Kenya for the last 10 years as a medical doctor and later as a psychiatrist, Dr. Ongeri has gained meaningful experience and understanding of the dire needs of the mentally ill in my country. A key challenge that stands out in both her clinical and research experience is the growing burden of mental illnesses. Mental disorders are not only highly prevalent but also highly disabling if left untreated. Despite the existence of effective treatment, 75% of people with serious mental illness in the region do not receive any treatment. Inaccessibility of mental health treatment is a key contributor to the large treatment gap.

The country and region grapple with inadequate financial and human resource allocation to mental health. Innovative programs that tap into already existing physical and human resources can go a long way to addressing this gap. It is for this same reason that she has been drawn to research approaches that strive to design culturally and regionally appropriate models of integrating mental health care in primary health care at community level.

Research Grants


PI: Newton C.

Date: Jan 2017-Dec 2022

Oxford University Grant

Title: Neuropsychiatric Genetics of African Populations – Psychosis (NeuroGAP-Psychosis)

Goal: This study involves genetic analysis of saliva samples from 4,000 Kenyan participants (2,000 adults with psychotic disorder, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, (N=2000) of controls comprising those without psychotic disorders). Kenya is contributing to a total of 14,600 samples being recruited for NeuroGAP, with other sites in South Africa and Uganda. The study aims at estimating the fraction of psychosis and bipolar disorder attributable to inherited genetic differences, determining the distribution of genetic copy number variants (CNV) in those with these disorders, and utilizing genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to look for new genetic variants associated with psychotic disorders in Africa.

Role: Co-investigator


R01 (MH11372201A1)/GACD U01 (MH-17-650)

PI: Meffert S/ Mathai M

Date:  26/05/2018 to Dec 2023

Funding agency: NIMH

Title: Depression And Primary-care Partnership for Effectiveness-implementation Research [SMART-DAPPER])

Goal: The goal of the study is to: (i) test strategies for integrating non-specialist delivery of 1st and 2nd line evidence-based depression and/or trauma-disorder treatments with primary care services at a large public sector hospital in Kisumu, Kenya and to conduct robust cost (ii) cost-benefit analyses of each treatment to produce a “menu” of cost-benefit options for policy-makers to address two of the most common mental disorders in the region.

Role: Co-investigator

PI: Meffert S
Date: 26/05/2014 to Dec 2018
Title: A Capacity Building Randomized Controlled Trial of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for HIV+ Women Affected by Gender Based Violence.
Goal: The goal of the study is to develop a locally delivered, sustainable mental health intervention (IPT) for depression and PTSD among HIV+GBV+ women in Nyanza Province, Kenya.
Role: Co-investigator

PI: Meffert S
Date: May 2015- Dec 2017
UCSF Resource Allocation Program (RAP)
Title: Law, Advocacy and Mental health Project (LAMP)
Goal: The goal of the study is to identify the mental health impact of providing testimony to FIDA legal providers for women with claims related GBV.
Role: Co-investigator

GRG 200/136
PI:Dr. Mbakaya Charles
Date: 01/01/2015- 01/01/2016
Government of Kenya exchequer Account
Title: Assessing Health Factors and Experiences Associated with Khat Handling and Chewing in Selected Areas of Kenya.
Goal: The goal of the study was to obtain data on Khat chewing including health effects and social effects which will enable informed guidelines for policy formulation and regulation of substance abuse in Kenya
Role: Co-investigator

PI: Linnet Ongeri
Date: 01/07/2014- 01/10/2015
Funding agency: GloCal Funds
Title: Mental Health Needs Assessment in a Primary Care Facility in Kaloleni, Kenya.
Goal: The study sought to investigate the prevalence of common mental disorders in the region as well as examine the knowledge, barriers as well as preferences to mental health care delivery in the area.
Role: Co-investigator

Travel grant
PI: Jenkins
Date: 01/01/2014-01/01/2015
UK Department for International Development, Nuffield Foundation
Title: Mental Disorder, Malaria and Immunity in Maseno Division, Western Kenya- A Household Survey
Goal: This was a household survey that sought to help us understand the interlink between Malaria, immunity and common mental disorders. Through this survey we were able to determine the prevalence of common mental disorders: Depression, PTSD, alcohol and substance abuse, ADHD in the region. We also determined the prevalence of Malaria in adults residing in the region.
Role: Co-investigator

PI: Linnet Ongeri
Date: 01/21/2014-01/21/2015
KEMRI Internal Research Grant
Title: Rates of Maternal Depression Among Women Attending Selected Maternal and Child Health Clinics in Nairobi, Kenya.
Goal: This was a follow up study with the goal of determining the rates of antepartum depression, incidence of postpartum depression and determinants of maternal depression. The study also assessed the feasibility of administering a screening instrument (EPDS) at primary care level.
Role: Principal Investigator


Dr. Phelgona Apondi Otieno

Research Scientist

Dr. Phelgona is a paediatrician and epidemiologist with long-standing experience in clinical work, medical research, mentorship in medical research and leadership.

She attained Clinical experience at the Kenyatta National Teaching and Referral Hospital rotating in all departments with a focus in paediatrics during the years of specialization.

Dr. Phelgona’s Medical Research spans various fields including, HIV and Maternal HIV disease progression, HIV PMTCT, child health projects, Preterm Birth Initiative programs among other fields. She is also involved in the mentorship of health professionals at various levels including in academic pursuits and research development.

Dr. Phelgona is a Principal Investigator in over 10 research projects involving human subjects, initiated 1 community child health mentorship program.

She is involved in several technical assignments either as a committee member or a lead. Additionally, she has been instrumental in initiating new scientific collaborations for KEMRI, as well as creating new programs for the institute

Selected Publications
  1. Morgan MC, Spindler H, Nambuya H, Nalwa GM, Namazzi G, Waiswa P, Otieno P, Cranmer J, Walker DM. Clinical cascades as a novel way to assess physical readiness of facilities for the care of small and sick neonates in Kenya and Uganda. PLoS One. 2018 Nov 21;13(11):e0207156. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207156. eCollection 2018.
  2. Ongeri L, Wanga V, Otieno P, Mbui J, Juma E, Stoep AV, Mathai M. Demographic, psychosocial and clinical factors associated with postpartum depression in Kenyan women. BMC Psychiatry. 2018 Oct 1;18(1):318. doi: 10.1186/s12888-018-1904-7.
  3. Otieno P, Waiswa P, Butrick E, Namazzi G, Achola K, Santos N, Keating R, Lester F, Walker D. Strengthening intrapartum and immediate newborn care to reduce morbidity and mortality of preterm infants born in health facilities in Migori County, Kenya and Busoga Region, Uganda: a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2018 Jun 5;19(1):313. doi: 10.1186/s13063-018-2696-2.
  4. Otieno P.A., Nduati R.W., Musoke R.N., Wasunna A.O. Growth and development of abandoned babies in institutional care in Nairobi. E.Afr.Med.J. 1999; 76:430-435.
  5. Obimbo E, Mbori-Ngacha D, Ochieng J, Richardson B, Otieno P, Bosire R, Farquhar C, Overbaugh J, John-Stewart G. Predictors of early mortality in a cohort of HIV-1 infected African children.  Pediatr Infect Dis J 2004; 23:536-543.
  6. Gichuhi C, Obimbo E, Mbori-Ngacha D, Mwatha A, Otieno P, Farquhar C, Waruia G, Wamalwa D, Bosire R, John-Stewart G. Predictors of post-neonatal mortality in HIV-1 exposed uninfected infants in Kenya. East Afr. Med. J. 2005; 82:447-51.

Dr. Samuel Gathere

Research Scientist

Undertake research and clinical trials in upper respiratory and the ear, nose and throat disease and provide clinical services to study participants


Establishment and participation of collaboration in the African Cancer Caribbean Consortium (AC3) with the subsequent plan to establish a VIRTUAL head and neck biorepository in Kenya. The protocol and the plans are ongoing 4. Staff Profiles (with brief biodata for each staff -200-300 worlds)

Dr Samuel Gathere is a senior clinical research scientist at the KEMRI. He holds a Master of Medicine in ENT/Head and Neck Surgery from the University of Nairobi and also a Diploma in Cancer Control from the National Cancer Institute (USA).

He has been involved in Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology at the Centre for Clinical Research, the Pathology Oncology Research Unit and Nairobi Cancer Registry NCR). He has been instrumental in the profiling of the cancer resist through technical and clinical advice to the NCR over the years. This had included cancer policy through the ministry of health and other stakeholders including the most recent Blue print for Success under Takeda Pharmaceuticals. He has also been a facilitator of the Cancer Registrar training over the years.

Dr Gathere has also been the head of the Non Communicable Disease Research Programme at KEMRI from 2012-2014.During this period he was instrumental in various policy outcomes that included the carrying out of the WHO STEPS survey in 2015/2016 and whose data being used for interventions. Dr Gathere organized that first KEMRI led National NCD conferences in 2012 and 2013 in Nairobi.


Dr. Robai Gakunga

Research Scientist

Dr. Robai Gakunga is an independent research scientist and research projects’ manager based in Nairobi, Kenya, working for the last 10 years as a consultant and in collaboration with leading research organizations—national, regional and international.

Dr. Robai has been a consultant at the Kenya National Cancer Registry (KNCR) at the Population and Health Division of the Centre for Clinical Research at KEMRI since January 2012. Over the years, she has collaborated on numerous research activities as Co-Investigator and in the implementation of the National Cancer Registry at KEMRI. She was the in-country consultant for the US CDC’s study to evaluate the economics of cancer registration (including assessments of cancer registry costs and efficiency) in Kenya among other low-and-middle income countries. The output from this study has been the establishment of more regional registries in the country and an international web-based tool (InCanReg Costing Tool) for estimating costs of cancer registries in low-and-middle income countries.

Dr. Robai holds a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Nairobi, an MBA (Strategic Management) from the United States International University -Africa, and has studied Epidemiology and Global Health at the International Prevention Research Institute (iPRI).=

She is a member of the Kenya Ministry of Health’s Technical Working Groups on Cancer Registration and Cancer Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation

Selected Publications
  1. Gakunga, R., Parkin, D.M. (2015) Cancer registries in Africa 2014: a survey of operational features and uses in cancer control planning. Int. J. Cancer. Vol 137: 2045–2052.
  2. Korir A., Gakunga R., Subramanian S., Okerosi N., Chesumbai G., Edwards P., Tangka F., Joseph R., Buziba N., Rono V., Parkin D.M., Saraiya M. (2016) Economic analysis of the Nairobi Cancer Registry: Implications for expanding and enhancing cancer registration in Kenya (2016). Cancer Epidemiol.; Volume 45, Supplement 1, S1-S58.

Dr. Betty Njoroge

Research Scientist
Selected Publications
  1. Perspectives of healthcare providers and HIV-affected individuals and couples during the development of a Safer Conception Counseling Toolkit in Kenya: stigma, fears, … Mmeje O, Njoroge B, Akama E, Leddy A, Breitnauer B, Darbes L, Brown J, AIDS Care 2016-01-01
  2. Achieving Pregnancy Safely in HIV-Affected Individuals and Couples: An Important Strategy to Eliminate HIV Transmission From Mother-To-Child and Between Sexual Partners. Mmeje, O.,Njoroge, B.,Cohen, C. R.,Temmerman, M.,Vermund, S. H.,van der Poel, S. J. Acquir. Immune Defic. Syndr. 2015 Sep 04
  3. Community perceptions of childbearing and use of safer conception strategies among HIV-discordant couples in Kisumu, Kenya. Breitnauer BT, Mmeje O, Njoroge B, Darbes LA, Leddy A, Brown J J Int AIDS Soc 2015-01-01
  4. Community perceptions of childbearing and use of safer conception strategies among HIV-discordant couples in Kisumu, Kenya. Breitnauer BT, Mmeje O, Njoroge B, Darbes LA, Leddy A, Brown J J Int AIDS Soc 2015-01-01 O. Mmeje, B. Njoroge, E.A. Bukusi, C.R. Cohen., 2012. O462 A case for vaginal insemination as a safer method of conception in HIV discordant couples (female positive, male negative) desiring conception in Kisumu, Kenya. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 119, p.S425.
  5. Betty Njoroge, Maria F. Gallo, Anjali Sharma, Elizabeth A. Bukusi, Rosemary Nguti, April J. Bell, Denise J. Jamieson, D’Nyce Williams and David A. Eschenbach. Diaphragm for STI and HIV Prevention: Is It a Safe Method for Women at High Risk? 2010 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
  6. Maria F Gallo, Anjali Sharma, Elizabeth A Bukusi, Betty Njoroge, Rosemary Nguti, Denise J Jamieson, April J Bell, David A Eschenbach. Intravaginal practices among female sex workers in Kibera, Kenya Sex Transm Infect published online April 21, 2010
  7. Elizabeth A. Bukusi, Maria F. Gallo, Anjali Sharma, Betty Njoroge, Denise J.Jamieson, Rosemary Nguti, April J. Bell, and David A. Eschenbach. Adherence to DiaphragmUse for Infection Prevention: A Prospective Study of Female SexWorkers in Kenya. Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Martha Maina-min

Martha Maina

Research Scientist

Ms. Martha is a histotecnologist passionately involved in cancer diagnostics. She is keen on improving the quality, accuracy and reliability of quality results on research and patient samples to aid in early cancer diagnostics which is key to easing the burden of cancer in the country.

  1. MSc.Clinical Histopathology and Diagnostic Cytology
  2. BSc. Medical Laboratory Sciences
  3. Technical University Higher National Diploma Medical Biotechnology
  4. Technical University Diploma Medical Laboratory Science
  5. Head Pathology Oncology Research Unit Pathology Laboratory
  6. Member of Center Scientific Committee
  7. Member of the institutes’ Biosafety committee
  8. Lecturing ITROMID Students on selected units

Mr. Benny B. Septer

Laboratory Technologist

Mr. Septer is a proactive Medical Laboratory technologist working with Kenya Medical Research Institute in the Center of Clinical Research, his main objective is to understand different systems of microorganisms such as DNA, RNA (molecular) interactions, modulations and their processes, and how they influence the immune system, how they interact with humans, and in the end will be able to prevent and promote health awareness. He aims to achieve this goal by participating and coming up with research proposals and projects that will be informative and provide leads to solving health problems

Currently Mr. Septer is running with some clinical trials as the laboratory lead personnel. In addition to that he runs routine diagnostic work in the clinical chemistry and biochemistry Department.

Academic and Professional Qualifications
  • Master of Public Health(ongoing) University of Suffolk U.K
  • BSc Medical Laboratory Science-Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology – Nairobi
  • Diploma: Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • Kenya Medical Training College – Nairobi
  • Certificate in Clinical Bioethics – CBEC-KEMRI Bioethics Training Initiative
  • Pathogen Asset Control System (PACS) Administrator -Collaborative Biological Engagement Program
  • Certificate in leadership and management Global Health- University of Washington
Ann Iruata, KEMRI-min

Ann Iruata

Research Scientist

Ann Iruata Namulen, is a research Scientist at KEMRI with a role and responsibilities of Providing input in the development of the knowledge management policies and procedures .Develop and implement effective and efficient utilization of knowledge by researchers Undertaking end user knowledge training needs analysis, projections and develop tailored training programs Report preparation on information traffic in the resource center Contributing to the writing of reports on work and program schedules of resource center Participating in scheduled training seminars for end-users within KEMRI and in the County Hospital Health Management Teams Searching for and retrieving information from the internet and online databases Drafting of promotional materials for KEMRI knowledge management observatory Writing and assisting in proposals writing

In addition, Ann is a clinical Epidemiologist with an interest in parasitic and infectious diseases. She has an extensive research work experience in phases I, II, III & IV Clinical Trials. She has coordinated Covid 19 activities including testing, vaccination and home based care for KEMRI staff. She had added responsibility as an ISO champion in CCR. She is also a member of National Cohesion & National Values Committee in the Institute

She has developed competitive protocols that have attracted research funds to facilitate the implementation of epidemiological research. She has authored and co-authored peer reviewed publications,. She has presented 4 abstracts in local conferences

Ann has an on-going PhD in Clinical Epidemiology in Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, she earned Master’s degree in Medical Epidemiology at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Kenya Methodist University and a diploma in Kenya Registered Nursing from the Kenya Medical Training College. She is a member of National Nurses Association of Kenya. She has a practicing license with the Nursing Council of Kenya she is currently seeking certification in Knowledge management.

Selected Publications
  1. Factors associated with nutritional status among children with visceral leishmaniasis attending Kacheliba Sub- County Hospital, West Pokot County, Kenya Journal of Health, Medicine and Nursing. www.iiste.org   Ann I. Namulen et al
  2. “Knowledge, Attitude and Practices of Guardians on Nutritional Status of Children with Visceral Leishmaniasis Attending Kacheliba Sub-County Hospital, West Pokot County, Kenya” AJHS/2020/ 612 By Ann I. Namulen Et al
  3. Association of Nutritional supplements with the treatment outcomes and nutritional status of children aged 5-12 years with active visceral leishmaniasis in Baringo and West Pokot Counties.Journal of Health, Medicine and Nursing.www.iiste.org /2022 Ann Iruata Namulen et al
Developed Proposals
  1. Association of Nutritional supplements with the treatment outcomes and nutritional status of children aged 5-12 years with active visceral leishmaniasis in Baringo and West Pokot Counties. Ann Namulen et al
  2. Factors associated with nutritional status among children with visceral leishmaniasis attending Kacheliba Sub- County Hospital, West Pokot County. Kenya. Ann Namulen et al
  3.  Knowledge, Attitude and Practices of Guardians on Nutritional Status of Children with Visceral Leishmaniasis Attending Kacheliba Sub-County Hospital, West Pokot County, Kenya. Ann namulen et al
  4. Prevalence of osteoporosis among women aged ≥ 40 years in kenya. Ann Namulen et al
  5. Micronutrients prevalence and analysis among children 5-12 years with visceral leishmaniasis at Baringo and West Pokot Ann namulen et al
  6. A community assessment of population characteristics, gaps in diagnosis access to treatment of CL as an NTD in Gilgil Sub-County, Nakuru Kenya. Dr Margaret Mbuchi, Dr. Njenga Njoroge,Ann Namulen George Kirigi
  7. Interventional assessment in dietary management of diabetes melitus among peopple living with diabetes melitus in kenya. Rehema Mwachuo, Ann Namulen
  8.  Esophageal cancer male to female incidence ratios in Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis of geographic, time and age trends. Anne Korir, Nathan Okerosi,George Kirigi, Ann Namulen
  9. Prevalence of Substance Use and Its Association with Sociodemographic and Behavioral Factors among Women Who Conduct Sex Work in Kenya. Dr. Linet Ongeri,Charity, Linet Ouma, Ann Namulen.
  10. Optimizing of quality of DNA samples for qPCR from the blood of patients with visceral leishmanias -Njoroge,magiri,Alfred muia, Ann Namulen ( ICF translator)
  11. IRONMAN: International Registry for Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer. Dr. Gatheri,Rukia,Namulen
  12. Evaluation of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV Program Indicators and Outcomes in HIV-Exposed Infants in Kenya A Registry-Based National Survey. Grace John-Stewart, MD, PhD(PI),John Kinuthia, MBChB, MMed, MPH (Protocol chair),Benson Singa, MBChB, MPH .(PI),Ann Namulen (Co-Investigator)
  13. An open-label clinical trial to assess the pharmacokinetics and safety of miltefosine allometric dose for the treatment of children with primary visceral leishmaniasis in Eastern Africa-ponsor: DNDi Dr Monique Wasunna, Director, DNDi Regional Office, Nairobi, Kenya Dr Fabiana Alves, Clinical Project Manager, DNDi Geneva, Switzerland Dr Robert Kimutai, Clinical Trial Manager,Ann Namulen (Study co-ordinator)