Celebrating Women and Girls in Science
11 February 2023
Women have made significant contribution in research despite the numerous challenges they face. To celebrate the women and girls in science we asked some women at KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research programme to share their journey in research, their achievements, and a word of advice to fellow women in science.
6 December 2022
KWTRP hosted the launch of the VAnguard research project. The NIHR Funded Project Builds Knowledge-base on Factors Influencing Vaccine Impact among Communities in Kenya and Uganda. The project aims to strengthen collaborations between national and international stakeholders in the identification of social and biological factors that impair vaccine impact in African communities, to develop integrated strategies and recommendations to optimize vaccine impact, and to contribute to health equity in Africa. The launch concurrently took place in Kenya and Uganda from 28th – 30th November 2022.
Four CTMGH researchers awarded full professorships
30 August 2022
Awards & Appointments KWTRP MOCRU MORU
We are delighted to announce that four of our researchers have been awarded the title of Professor, in recognition of their research achievements, contribution to teaching, and contribution to the general work of the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford.
Quality of care, health workers’ well-being and COVID-19
19 July 2022
Nurses are central players in the provision of quality health care globally. Although neonatal units have not been at the epicenter of the current COVID-19 pandemic, challenges have also been raised for neonatal nurses. KWTRP share their COVID-19 related experiences and challenges, highlight strategies they used to manage the challenges and show how elements of the communication skills and emotional competence course helped them cope.
High prevalence of antibodies against COVID-19 within the general population: Evidence from Nairobi and Kilifi
5 July 2022
By May 2022, 69% of individuals residing within the Kilifi Health and Demographic System (HDSS) and 91% residing within the Nairobi Urban HDSS had evidence of an immune response to COVID-19 resulting from natural infection and/or vaccination, i.e., anti-spike IgG antibodies.
Taking relationships seriously
17 June 2022
Community Engagement (CE) is a critical aspect of health research because of its potential to make research more ethical, relevant, and well implemented. Many research programmes now aim to incorporate CE activities at all stages of their work. This KWTRP brief summarises key findings from a malaria trials, and provides an illustration of how CE works more generally. It highlights facilitators and challenges to engagement, and the ethical issues that are particularly relevant in LMIC settings with under resourced health systems.
Congratulations to our new Associate Professors
8 June 2022
Awards & Appointments KWTRP OUCRU
Our heartfelt congratulations to Melissa Kapulu, Francis Ndungu and Emelda Okiro from KWTRP, and to Hoa Thi Ngo and Sophie Yacoub from OUCRU who have been awarded Associate Professorships
Congratulations Professor Kathryn Maitland, awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours
7 June 2022
Kathryn Maitland, Professor of Paediatric Tropical Infectious Diseases and based at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours
Modelling the Cost-Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccination Strategies in Kenya
29 April 2022
The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme today released the results of its latest modelling on COVID-19 vaccine scale-up within the country. The analysis found that the country’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign can achieve greater value for money if it focuses on the elderly, rather than a strategy that pursues scaling up vaccines to the whole population.
Emelda Okiro awarded Wellcome Senior Research Fellowship
19 April 2022
Dr Emelda Okiro has been awarded the prestigious Wellcome Senior Research Fellowship. Emelda’s fellowship is the first African Senior Research Fellowship awarded in the KEMRI-Wellcome Research Programme and among the less than five SRFs awarded to researchers in Africa.
Large African and South Asian research network finds half of deaths among children admitted to hospital happens after discharge
12 April 2022
Young children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia who become sick or malnourished continue to have a high risk of death in the six months after being hospitalized, according to findings by researchers in the Childhood Acute Illness & Nutrition (CHAIN) Network. Appearing in The Lancet Global Health, the study of 3,101 acutely ill children at nine hospitals in six countries across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia found that 48% of the 350 deaths recorded occurred within six months after discharge from hospital.
Community and Public Engagement at KWTRP
29 March 2022
Monitoring and Evaluation helps us keep track of our public engagement activities and outcomes. KEMRI -Wellcome Trust recently completed a report detailing our experiences and learning.
Potentially life-saving treatment is safe to use for babies with neonatal sepsis
8 February 2022
Results from a clinical trial completed in Kenya have determined that a safe dose of the antibiotic, fosfomycin, can be used to treat babies with neonatal sepsis. This is a significant development, as there are very few antibiotics specifically licensed to treat multidrug-resistant infections in babies. This research was lead by Dr Christina Obiero and Professor Jay Berkley.
Cross-species vaccination by Professor George Warimwe
19 January 2022
Awards & Appointments KWTRP Video
Royal Society 2021 Africa Prize lecture from Professor George Warimwe. More than 70% of emerging infectious diseases (including viruses) are zoonotic, meaning they are acquired from animals, with some causing serious illness and death in humans as well as the animal host. But, what if we could immunise both humans and animals with the same vaccine?
New! A learning framework about antimicrobial resistance for children and young people
19 November 2021
KWTRP MORU OUCRU Public Engagement
A downloadable resource for educators, health & research professionals to help develop young peoples’ understanding of AMR and positive actions they can take to mitigate it.
Peter Macharia wins RSTMH Emerging Leader Award
12 October 2021
Peter Macharia is a spatial epidemiologist and a postdoc interested in disease mapping, healthcare access and mapping population vulnerabilities at KEMRI Wellcome. He received the RSTMH 2021 Emerging Leader Award, which recognises significant contributions in leadership, mentoring and capacity building in those who are early in their careers.
Congratulations new Associate Professors
14 September 2021
Awards & Appointments KWTRP MORU OUCRU
Following the meeting of the Medical Sciences Divisional Committee to consider applications for the conferral of the title of Associate Professor, we are pleased to announce that Rashan Haniffa, Dorcas Kamuya, Isabella Oyier, Le Van Tan and Timothy Walker have been awarded the title Associate Professor
Reducing children’s exposure to malaria in their early years substantially cuts the risk of hospitalisation.
2 September 2021
For the first time in more than two decades, a team from the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and University of Oxford have quantified the risk of children suffering severe outcomes from malaria - which can have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of children who are admitted to hospital with severe malaria every year.
Royal Society Africa Prize 2021 awarded to George Warimwe
24 August 2021
The Royal Society Africa Prize 2021 is awarded to Professor George Warimwe for his work on zoonoses vaccine development, capacity building in Africa, and his innovative research proposal. This Prize recognises research scientists based in Africa who are making an innovative contribution to the sciences.
Tracking the introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in coastal Kenya
17 August 2021
A team of KWTRP scientists carried out a major genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Kenya during the early phase of the epidemic (March – July 2020). Researchers provide evidence for at least 35-40 unique introductions of the virus in the coast region – specifically the epidemic that was largely observed in Mombasa County.
Simple blood tests may help improve malaria diagnosis in clinical studies
8 July 2021
About one-third of children diagnosed with severe malaria may instead have an alternative cause of illness, but simple blood tests could help researchers distinguish between the two and speed up research on new treatments.
We gathered rich insights into child survival in Kenya by mapping patterns over 22 years
5 May 2021
Although improvements in child survival globally have been remarkable, 5.2 million children still died in 2019, over half of these in sub-Saharan Africa. A range of factors likely include disparities in childhood immunisations, supplements and breastfeeding practices, antenatal care, skilled birth attendants working in healthcare facilities. Kenya needs to prioritise its child care plans, based on localities and populations with the greatest need. Two KWTRP studies give granular insights into the situation in regions across Kenya.
What it takes to reach zero malaria
4 May 2021
Interview with KWTRP Malaria immunologist Dr Francis Ndungu. Francis grew up in central Kenya where malaria is not prevalent but is interested in understanding of how semi-immune individuals control malaria parasite growth and the associated inflammation symptoms. His current work is in understanding how we develop immunity to Malaria. He is also interested in the potential translation of that knowledge in the development of effective malaria vaccines.
Celebrating women in ICT: connected girls, creating brighter futures
27 April 2021
The International Girl’s in ICT day is commemorated to create awareness on the critical need for more girls and women in the ICT sector, encourage and inspire young girls to actively pursue careers in STEM as well as engage the community to promote collaboration through partnerships. Kathreen Wafula, an ICT Support Technician in Kilifi, joins a strong team of techies and is one of the 4 women in the department.
Community and Public Engagement at KWTRP
28 January 2021
KWTRP initial community and public engagement strategy was developed in 2005 with three goals: build understanding and trust between researchers and communities, enhance ethical conduct of research, and disseminate research findings to promote uptake into policy. Our programme has since developed and now includes engagement with media, radio programme, media engagement workshops, various meetings and forums, and a fully-fledged school engagement programme that was awarded the 2019 Oxford VC Public Engagement with Research Award.
Receiving and responding to community feedback during health system crises in Kenya
18 December 2020
The responsiveness of a health system is one of its goals, alongside fairness in financing and outcomes. Listening and responding to the public can make a health system stronger and fairer. However, responsiveness is likely to be undermined, especially for vulnerable and marginal populations, in periods of crises such as disease outbreaks. In the current COVID-19 crisis, there has been more focus on health system control interventions, with minimal consideration of community views. KWTRP colleagues in Kenya consider community engagement and citizens feedback channels, concerns raised by the public and how they were handled, and highlight lessons learned.
Knowledge brokering platform launched to support health systems in the African region
8 December 2020
The World Health Organization and partners including the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme launched AHOP (African Health Observatory Platform), an online platform to promote the exchange of evidence and experience across countries in the African region. By working to foster evidence-informed decision-making in an endeavor to re-engineer health service delivery, the initiative is expected to drive countries’ health system resilience efforts.
Trials of Oxford coronavirus vaccine begin in Kenya
30 October 2020
Kenya has joined the global efforts in search of an effective vaccine for COVID-19 with the start of a trial evaluating the ChAdOx1 nCoV-2019 Oxford coronavirus vaccine. Following the necessary approvals from regulators, as well as the national ministry of health, and Kilifi county, the first volunteers for the trial have recently received their vaccinations.
Oxford Global Research
23 October 2020
General KWTRP MORU NDM-CGHR OUCRU
Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. To showcase our global research, the University launched a Global Research Map, highlighting areas of research we are conducting overseas.
COVID-19: examining theories for Africa’s low death rates
9 October 2020
Africa accounts for 17% of the global population but only 3.5% of the reported global COVID-19 deaths. In many African countries, transmission has been higher but severity and mortality much lower than originally predicted based on experience in China and Europe. Kevin Marsh and Moses Alobo argue that Africa’s much younger population explains a very large part of the apparent difference. Some of the remaining gap is probably due to under reporting of events but there are a number of other plausible explanations, ranging from climatic differences, pre-existing immunity, genetic factors to behavioural differences.
COVID-19 vaccine research in Kenya
24 September 2020
Researchers at KWTRP and University of Oxford collaborate to evaluate the ChAdOx1 nCOV-19 vaccine in Kenya
New COVID-19 simulation training for smartphones helps African healthcare workers save lives
6 July 2020
Oxford University’s LIFE project has launched a new set of app-based training scenarios that help healthcare workers in Africa safely manage and treat cases of children with suspected COVID-19
Regional Social and Epidemiological Vulnerability to COVID-19 in Kenya
19 June 2020
Epidemics and pandemics disproportionately affect populations with greater impacts on the most vulnerable and less resilient communities. Hence Kenya’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic calls for more context adapted public health measures reflecting our improved understanding of who is the most vulnerable and their geographical location. This policy brief presents evidence on localized vulnerability indices to identify areas and people who require greater support while highlighting inequities to inform the COVID-19 response in Kenya.
Mitigating the Socio-economic impacts of physical distancing in African countries
3 June 2020
What are the health and socio-economic impacts of physical distancing in African countries and how can they be mitigated? This work by Edwine Barasa and colleagues reviews the effects of physical distancing restrictions and recommends that African countries need to consider the broader net benefit of measures that they choose to implement and to adapt and localize their response to align with the contextual realities of the continent, and to optimize expected benefits of physical distancing, while minimizing the undesired impacts.
Policy Maker’s guide for adopting a gender lens in health systems policy
30 January 2020
Policy makers are interested in practical steps to a more gender-equitable and transformative health system. A guide published by Research in Gender & Ethics aims to help policy makers adopt a gender lens in policy deliberations on health systems. In order to prompt reflections on how gender affects health systems, we include case studies from Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
KWTRP highlights health equity issues during Equity Week
26 November 2019
Convened by the International Budget Partnership, Equity Week brings together stakeholders from national and county government, community groups and other agencies to reflect on equity and equality issues particularly in resource mobilization and distribution in the country. KWTRP highlighted issues of disability, access to healthcare, financial risk protection, mapping variations and vulnerabilities in young children
New LIFE VR immersive education launched
14 November 2019
Life-saving Instruction for Emergences (LIFE), a virtual reality (VR) medical training platform developed by doctors, nurses and researchers at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) in Kenya and Oxford University with support from HTC, has officially launched today. This new virtual reality medical training app uses HTC VIVE Focus Plus for training doctors and nurses to save lives.
Male and female healthcare managers in Kenya: career trajectories and experiences
5 November 2019
Women continue to be under-represented in leadership positions across a range of sectors and geographic regions. In the health sector specifically, women comprise a substantial proportion of the global health workforce but are over-represented in lower-paying, lower-status occupations. The role of gender in healthcare leadership in LMIC settings remains under-researched. KWTRP undertook a study to understand and explore career progression and experiences of healthcare leaders at sub-national level in Kenya.
Congratulations new TropMed professors
9 October 2019
Awards & Appointments KWTRP MORU NDM-CGHR
Oxford Medical Sciences Divisional Panel has conferred the title of Professor on three members of our Centre. Ben Cooper - Professor of Epidemiology, Sassy Molyneux - Professor of Global Health and Piero Olliaro - Professor of Poverty Related Infectious Diseases were awarded these titles in recognition of their distinction in their respective fields and contributions to the research, teaching and administration of the Department and we congratulate them on their success!
NEST360 partnership to reduce by half newborn mortality in sub-Saharan hospitals
4 October 2019
The Oxford based OHSCAR team is delighted to be a partner the NEST360 project working with KEMRI-Wellcome and the Kenya Paediatric Research Consortium in Kenya to support this effort to improve care care of the sick newborn and save lives
Oxford Tropical Medicine awarded two RSTMH medals
17 September 2019
Awards & Appointments KWTRP NDM-CGHR
Two researchers from the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health were awarded medals by the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the 2019 European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health. Professor David Warrell was awarded the Sir Patrick Manson Medal, and Dr Samson Kinyanjui the Chalmers Medal.
Tungiasis (Jiggers): How remote village is winning the war
13 September 2019
In Kenya, the poorest of the poor carry the highest burden of disease. From locally-made, low-cost herbal remedies to affordable hard floors for households, researchers and communities are developing new ways to deal with jiggers in Kenya. Lynne Elson, a research fellow at KEMRI Wellcome Trust, lead a study to determine whether neem and coconut oil reduce inflammation, pain and itching better than the standard treatment in seven days.
Malaria breakthrough as scientists find ‘highly effective’ way to kill parasite
8 September 2019
Human trials of new antimalarial drugs are in the pipeline after KEMRI scientists successfully used bacteria to kill the parasite that causes the disease. Trials in Burkina Faso showed that Ivermectin, a conventional drug used for parasitic diseases including river blindness and elephantiasis, reduced transmission rates. The medication worked by making the blood of people who were repeatedly vaccinated lethal to mosquitoes. The study also found that Ivermectin can kill plasmodium falciparum, the malaria parasite carried by female mosquitoes, when administered to humans.
The 'impossible' job of being a neonatal nurse
26 August 2019
The provision of high-quality care to sick newborns presents challenges in any health system. International guidelines suggest that even for babies who do not require intensive care, there should be one nurse for every 2 – 4 sick babies. However, recent studies conducted in Nairobi show that one nurse takes care of between 20 – 40 newborns. In a recently published policy brief the KEMRI Wellcome Trust programme highlights the experience of nurses in Nairobi’s New Born Units.
Ongoing research at KWTRP Nairobi Hub
1 August 2019
The Nairobi Programme at KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme hosts over 17 principal researchers, 15 PhD fellows and a dedicated team of over 40 research assistants spanning clinical research, health services research, population health research, and health systems and economics research. Learn more about the ongoing research and the principal researchers behind the work.
Launch of comprehensive public health facility inventory for sub-Saharan Africa
25 July 2019
KWTRP has launched a dataset of comprehensive public health facilities from 50 countries in sub- Saharan Africa. This new dataset locates health facilities in relation to the communities they are intended to serve, to help ensure that services are accessible to the right populations and that no one is geographically marginalized from essential services. This is critical for attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 3 on good health and wellbeing.
Bringing science and health research to Kenyan schools project wins University Public Engagement with Research Award
10 July 2019
Awards & Appointments KWTRP Public Engagement
A project bringing science to Kenyan schools, led by Dr Alun Davis from Kemri Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya and Nuffield Department of Medicine, has won a Project Award in this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards.
We’re developing the world’s first vaccine suitable for humans and livestock
7 May 2019
Rift Valley Fever, one of WHO priority diseases, causes abortion and malformation in livestock, as well as occasionally severe symptoms in humans. George Warimwe and colleagues at KWTRP are developing a vaccine suitable for both humans and livestock. This cross-species approach, known as “One Health”, might in the long term accelerate the design and development of vaccines, protecting human health and biodiversity too.
Towards Universal Health Coverage in Kenya: Are we on the right path?
30 April 2019
The attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is a policy priority at both global and national levels. The Sustainable Development Goals underscore the importance of health and wellbeing for all with three main objectives: equity in access to health services, access to quality health services, and protection from financial risk. In Kenya, although the government has installed UHC as a policy priority, it is still marred in misconstruction and often reduced to health financing. Researchers at KEMRI-Wellcome tracked Kenya’s progress towards UHC between 2003 and 2014 and set out recommendations to support policy makers in designing a body of UHC policy.
Malawi is testing a new malaria vaccine. But it’s still early days
30 April 2019
Malaria is a leading cause of death and illness around the world. Over 200 million cases are reported every year, and more than 400 000 people die. More than 90% of cases are reported in sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists have spent decades searching for an effective vaccine. Hence the recent excitement when Malawi’s government announced it had launched a pilot programme for the world’s first malaria vaccine, RTS,S (also known as Mosquirix©), produced by the pharmaceutical company, GSK. It’s the first vaccine to demonstrate significant reduction in malaria in children. The Conversation Africa’s Ina Skosana asked immunologist Faith Osier about RTS,S.