Public Health in Nairobi, Kenya
Groups based in Nairobi made significant contributions to research and policy helping to improve child survival, reduce the burden of malaria worldwide and eliminate inequities in health encompassed in the Millennium Development Goals. As we move beyond 2015 global goals, including those for health, will be encompassed in new Sustainable Development Goals. These will be multisectoral and have a greater systems focus, in health universal coverage with quality health care will be an important component.
Teams in Nairobi are involved in a broad portfolio of Public Health research. The research examines the evidence behind health policy, the barriers to accessing care and prevention, the quality of care provision, the resource needs and financing of health and the performance of international, national and county health systems.
The scientific staff cover a multi-disciplinary range of research skills including epidemiology, medicine and other clinical professions, mathematical modeling, disease mapping, health economics, social science and health systems/ implementation research. Over 60 scientists are based in Nairobi from post-graduate research scientists, doctoral students, post-doctoral research fellows and senior research fellows.
The location in Nairobi is of strategic importance to achieve research-to-policy aims being close to the Ministry of Health where researchers collaborate with Divisions of: Malaria Control; Vector Borne Diseases; Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health; Health Information; Planning, Policy and Financing; Quality and Standards; and Monitoring and Evaluation. It is also close to collaborators in the University of Nairobi's College of Health Sciences. In addition, it serves as a regional hub to connect with ministries of health and research partners for the Spatial Health Metric's group's work supporting national governments on malaria epidemiological across Africa.
The research group are principally funded by The Wellcome Trust to support the infrastructure, research training and public engagement in addition to fellowship support to five research scientists from Kenya and Oxford University. Additional research funding is provided by grants from the Department for International Development, World Bank, IDRC (Canada), UK MRC-WT-ESRC-DFID, WHO and other national bilateral and funding agencies.
The research programme in Nairobi is configured around several key themes:
- Best-practice guidelines for the management of severely ill children -evidence base systematic reviews, translation of evidence into policy, targeted clinical epidemiological research, and quantitative work on hospital quality of care and testing of interventions to improve this
- Qualitative research to foster understanding of hospitals' and health system's performance in provision of services and best-practice care and the development of optimal human resources for health
- Testing new ways of increasing access to new antimalarial drugs and the quality of care provided by health workers in the periphery of the health system
- Generating knowledge to help strengthen health financing and other policies and interventions in ways which preferentially benefit the poorest
- Measuring health intervention impact at national levels using modeled imperfect health information system data, national community sample and sentinel surveillance and economic evaluations of vaccine coverage
- INFORM project
- Defining the climate, human settlement and social vulnerabilities relevant to human health in Africa
- Providing a long-term historical context to malaria and its control in Africa
Central to all the research in Nairobi is the interface between the science and the health policies in Kenya, regionally and at a Global scale.
Research undertaken by scientists at the Nairobi Unit has been directly linked to:
- The formation of national paediatric guidelines used by the Kenyan Ministry of Health and in other African countries
- Development and scaling up of interventions to improve care for seriously ill children and newborns
- Better understanding of health care quality at scale and means to improve it
- Health financing policy development in Kenya
- Malaria control and treatment policy through scientific monitoring of coverage and impact of the Kenyan National Malaria Strategy
- Use of strategic malaria risk and health service maps for resource allocation for health service partners in Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Ethiopia and Namibia
- Providing the first global synthesis of global malaria risk since 1968 to guide international funding and resource allocation