Before a formal transfer to KEMRI, CPHR operated by the name of Medical Research Centre (MRC), which was managed by the Royal Tropical Institute of Amsterdam (KIT) until 1987. In 1995, KEMRI undertook a re-alignment exercise of its research mandates / Programmes and renamed its centers to reflect the new corporate identity. In this regard, MRC remained the official name of the center until 1997 when all tittles of centers  were changed to start with CENTRE and MRC renamed the “Centre for Public Health Research”.

The Public Health Research Centre is responsible for undertaking research in epidemiology, public health nutrition, maternal and child health, health systems research, population and behavioral sciences, environmental, occupational and industrial health, and oral health and non-communicable diseases.



Our mission is to improve human health and quality of life through research, capacity building, innovation and service delivery


Our vision is to be a leading centre of excellence in research for human health.

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  1. To conduct research aimed at providing solutions for the reduction of diseases of public health importance
  2. To undertake innovations in products formulation and provision of specialized service delivery for promotion of public health
  3. To strengthen capacity in public health research through training, supervision and mentorship
  4. To translate and disseminate health research findings for evidence-based policy formulation and implementation for improved public health.
  5. To provide leadership in public health research in Kenya and beyond
  6. To conduct research on Universal Health Coverage
  7. To conduct research on human food security and nutrition
  8. To conduct Research on Health systems
  9. To conduct research on environmental and occupational health
  10. To conduct research on mental health/substance abuse


1983 Kakamega ORS and social marketing Charcoal based water filter (Bone-char)
1985 Development of non-fluoride tooth paste for children Non fluoride toothpaste; Changed utilization of fluoride toothpaste by children; Fluorosis in children reduced
1987 Effectiveness of Bone-char in water de-fluoridation Small scale de- fluoridation of water treatment plants;

Reduction of fluoride levels in water and prevalence of fluorosis



Public Health Nutrition and Maternal and Child Health

Nutrition studies and survey:

  1. Conduct of national nutrition surveys and studies on Maternal Child Health and Public Nutrition.
  2. Undertake clinical trials and studies on innovative nutritional preparations/formulations to address disease conditions
  3. Conduct studies on nutrition and lifestyle diseases including but not limited to cardiovascular health research, diabetes and cancer.

Wellness promotion: Provision of wellness promotion services at work site for different institutions in the country


Ongoing Projects

Ongoing Projects



Health Systems Research Division

To conduct research that will identify effective and efficient ways to organize, manage, and deliver high quality, equitable and responsive health care within the areas of health services, health information systems, health financing, medicines and technologies, health workforce, and leadership and governance in Kenya.

Public Health Nutrition, Matenal and Child Health Division

To conduct research in public health, nutrition, maternal and child health, and food science including studies on dietary intake and food safety

Epidemiology Division

To conduct research and studies on disease patterns, undertake surveillance and monitoring

Populational and Behavioral Science Unit

This Unit focuses on research that affects Kenya population as well as behavioral sciences with the sole aim of promoting optimal physical, social, and emotional wellness

Oral Health Division

This unit focus on the assessment of oral health needs. Carry out critical evaluations, derivation of appropriate indicators oral health, commissioning and evaluation of dental health services. Research and development in oral health.

Environmental Occupational and Industrial Health Division

To undertake research in environmental, occupational and industrial health

Socio-Sciences Unit

Social Sciences Research arm is an independent Unit in the Centre for Public Health Research, KEMRI that provides broad research endeavors in the social sciences, along with research skills related to health, illness and health care.

The research in this discipline is conducted by social scientists following a systematic plan that utilizes both quantitative and qualitative designs. The quantitative design approaches social phenomena through quantifiable evidence and often relies on statistical analysis of many cases (or across intentionally designed treatments in an experiment) to create valid and reliable general claims related to quantity.

Qualitative design, on the other hand, emphasize understanding of social phenomena through direct observation, communication with participants, or analysis of texts, and may stress contextual subjective accuracy over generality. Reasons for social research ankers on identifying general patterns and relationships, testing and refining theory, making predictions, interpreting significance, exploring diversity, giving voice, and advancing new theories.

The Social Science Unit comprises various skills visa vis Medical Sociology, Sociology, Anthropology, Demography, and Psychology. Its functions include carrying out research that ensures excellence in research and innovation for human health, strengthening disease-based research, enhancing dissemination and translation of research findings for evidence based policy formulation and implementation, and mentoring programmes.


Hematology Laboratory

Hematology is concerned with the diagnosis of diseases related to blood. The laboratory work that goes into the study of blood is frequently performed by a medical technologist or medical laboratory scientist. Including analysis of factors concerned with oncology

Parasitology Laboratory

Parasitology laboratory offers a referral service for the identification of a wide range of human parasites from clinical specimens. Examples of tests include Blood Parasite diagnosis: Malaria, African Trypanosomes and Filariasis, Faecal Parasite diagnosis:

Faecal microscopy direct examination and / or concentration for parasites (including hot stool), Culture for Strongyloides /Hookworm, Faecal staining methods, Enterobius microscopy

Nutrition biochemistry Laboratory

To explores the chemical processes within and related to living organisms. Mainly to establish the optimal dietary and
nutritional requirements of both healthy individuals and those inflicted with illness.

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry IFTIR Laboratory

Specialized laboratory, equipment supported by International Atomic Energy Agency the second
one in Kenya, the other one is in UoN. Assesses intake of human milk, in breastfed
infants using stable Isotope Techniques (deuterium)

Food Science Laboratory

Uses the application of basic sciences and engineering to study the physical, chemical, and biochemical nature of foods and the principles of food processing including the study of microorganisms causing food spoilage

Access to Cancer Care in Kenya: Patients’, Survivors’, Caregivers’ and Health Providers’ PerspectivesDownload Document
Global report on the state of dietary dataDownload Document
A working guide for Urban Food Listing

Food listing for processed packaged and vendor-prepared foods in urban centers for use in 24-hour dietary recall surveys
Download Document

Dr. Zipporah Bukania

Deputy Director CPHR

Dr. Bukania is a trained public health nutrition scientist with over 20 years’ experience in clinical nutrition services and research. Expert in designing and executing assignments focusing majorly on generating evidence to support implementation of nutrition related Programmes in the communities. Equally impressive history of spearheading nutrition research initiatives ranging from household surveys, stakeholders’ analyses studies, randomized controlled trials and implementation research, strategy development, Review of policy documents. She has hands on experience in translation of research findings to policy documents.

Through various working Groups, Dr Bukania provides technical supports to the Ministry of Health, Division of Nutrition and Dietetics (DND). Currently, Chairs the Scaling Up Nutrition Academia and Research Network, and a Secretariat Member of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement in Kenya.  She also chairs the DND Research in Nutrition Technical Working Group.  Further, she plays an advisory role to the Livestock for Health (L4H) program of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In addition, Dr. Bukania is a member of the Global Food Matters Expert Group.

Dr. Zipporah Bukania

Center for Public Health Research
P.O. BOX 20752-00202, KNH Nairobi, Kenya
Email: ek.og.irmekobfsctd@rhpcrotcerid

Contact Info

Centre for Public Health Research

P.O. BOX 20752-00202, KNH Nairobi, Kenya

Email: ek.og.irmekobfsctd@rhpcrotcerid