Our Mission:To discover,apply and disseminate knowledge through creative and innovative health research.


  1. MSc- Epidemiology by Distance Learning- Scholarship

Academic Requirement

All applicants are required to have:

A first or second class honours degree or equivalent, from a university or other institution acceptable to the University of London, in health-related disciplines or in statistics or another appropriate subject. Work experience in a health sciences or health care setting is desirable but not essential.

Applicants with an appropriate professional or technical qualification in a health-related field, which satisfies the University as a qualification equivalent to a second class honours degree, together with at least three years’ relevant experience, may also be considered on an individual basis.

Qualifications from around the world are accepted; for further guidance please see the School's qualifications for entrance. Students who do not satisfy the entrance requirements may still be admitted at the discretion of the School on the basis of their academic qualifications, work experience and references

English Language Requirements

It is essential that you have an adequate command of the English Language to carry out your studies.

Computer Requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to access the University of London website, and the Student Portal. 

For more info visit:   https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/study/courses/masters-degrees/epidemiology-online



  1. PhD- Epidemiology by Distance Learning- Scholarship

PhD research degrees involve the presentation of a thesis on a research topic in a field appropriate to the student's or sponsor's needs and the School's research expertise.

Academic requirements

A student must normally satisfy the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine general entrance requirements as follows:

The normal minimum entrance qualification for registration at the School on a PhD programme is at least one of the following:

  • a master’s degree in a subject appropriate to the course of study to be followed (recommended)
  • a qualification appropriate to the course of study to be followed, in medicine, dentistry or veterinary studies
  • An upper second-class honours degree from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject.
  • evidence of an aptitude for research

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to meet t requirements on the link provided below;



  1. The scholarship will be provided by the University of Nairobi- KAVI-ICR.
  2. Tuition fees and Travel charges will be catered for by the scholarship.
  • The scholar should be a resident/citizen of Kenya
  1. The student will be based at KAVI-ICR as a research assistant
  2. The scholar will be admitted at LSHTM with co-supervision from UoN
  3. Applications to be sent to the following address or email; latest 29th January 2021.



P.O.Box 19676-00202


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It seems a lifetime ago since I joined KAVI as a scrawny pimply young doctor on 12th January 2004. After working 7 years at a busy A/E department, I knew clinical practice wasn’t for me. I had tried my hand in ENT surgery but that didn’t work out either. Somewhat lost and disillusioned, I needed out but didn’t know what I wanted. Joining KAVI was a stepping stone to the unknown. Little did I know then that in KAVI I would find the true purpose of my career in medicine in the field of clinical research. Sixteen years later I reflect on my experiences and the lessons that I have learnt.

At the KAVI-Kangemi research clinic in 2005
At the KAVI-Kangemi research clinic in 2005

Transition from clinical practice to research was a culture shock – I entered into the world of research ethics that is informed by centuries of regulations that now govern the field globally. Its sole purpose is to guarantee the safety, wellbeing and rights of study participants- protecting them from exploitation and ensuring studies are conducted to the highest standards of integrity. Conducting clinical trials has been the most rewarding- it is regimented, standardized and global in its impact. It has helped me appreciate the long and often frustrating product development process that brings new drugs/vaccines/ diagnostics or interventions into the market. It is an expensive process that needs committed investments by governments and other funding agencies.

First vaccine study (IAVI Protocol B003) to be conducted at the KAVI-Kangemi site with the first volunteer enrolled
First vaccine study (IAVI Protocol B003) to be conducted at the KAVI-Kangemi site with the first volunteer enrolled

My work at KAVI also brought me face to face with my nemesis IMMUNOLOGY. The study of HIV vaccinology is a deep dive into that cryptically mysterious world of cells and proteins that keep us all healthy- protecting us from ourselves and the world around us. I have witnessed KAVI become a centre of excellence in mucosal immunology with the capacity to track viruses as they move across the various layers of the mucosa making KAVI only the second centre in Africa to do so. The microscopic world of viruses is the stuff of science fiction. It is an insight into the fascinating ways pathogens break through our defences to invade our bodies and make us ill.   

By far my greatest joy has been working with lay communities. Community engagement at KAVI is informed by the principals of Good Participatory Practice. Through this process, we have sought to empower communities to become equal partners to the research process. The science of HIV vaccines is becoming increasing complex as we introduce vaccine designs that target the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies. Our task as we work with lay communities has been to break down that science into non-technical language in order to leverage community support for the studies we conduct. Our work has been made even harder by a growing trend towards vaccine hesitancy driven by multiple conspiracy theories. In spite of this, our community partners including community advisory boards and peer educators have been steadfast in their support. They have helped us address community concerns as well as advocate for HIV vaccine research. We have drawn study participants from these communities and achieved >90% retention rates from our clinical trials- a clear indication of their support and commitment to the process. I have developed a healthy respect for community wisdom- the combined pool of skills, knowledge and resources that communities bring to the table to address matters that affect them. I have admired those who have braved stigma and discouragement to become study participants. I have been humbled by the deeply personal and sometimes tragic stories that inspire their participation in HIV vaccine research.

Sharing a light moment during vaccine literacy training for representatives of various religious organizations in the Gospel Parliament
Sharing a light moment during vaccine literacy training for representatives of various religious organizations in the Gospel Parliament
Marking HIV Vaccine Awareness Day with community partners
Marking HIV Vaccine Awareness Day with community partners

As I leave KAVI, dreadlocked and grey haired, I know I have done my time in the trenches. I know it is time to find the next generation of investigators. I leave at the time when we face yet another viral pandemic- SARS CoV- 2 – which is threatening the lives and economies across the globe. The studies conducted at KAVI have never been more needed or more relevant as the frequency of new zoonotic and arboviral disease outbreaks increases. The potential for institutions like KAVI is unlimited and remains vital for the country and beyond. I am grateful to have worked at the University of Nairobi (where I did my basic and post-graduate training) and specifically at KAVI with some of the Kenya’s top scientists- Prof Walter Jaoko (KAVI-Director), Prof Omu Anzala (KAVI founder), (Late) Prof Job Bwayo, (Late) Prof. Elizabeth Ngugi and (Late) Prof. Ndinya-Achola. I am grateful for them, to the management and staff at KAVI and the community partners that have shaped who I am today. I leave, not to abandon the field, but to serve it in a different capacity. Thank you for 16 amazing years.   

Saying goodbye with my favourite food group
Saying goodbye with my favourite food group
Bidding Farewell to long-term friends and colleagues
Bidding Farewell to long-term friends and colleagues.

The University held a public forum on COVID-19 on Thursday 12th March 2020 at the Chandaria Auditorium, UoN Towers.

The forum brought together staff, students and members of the public to discuss the impact of COVID-19 and potential solutions.

It was led by five panellists who are eminent personalities in their fields - Professor Omu Anzala (Virologist & Immunologist, Professor Salome Bukachi (Medical Anthropologist), Dr Pamela Godia (Public Health Specialist), Dr Joy Kiiru (Economist) and Dr Marybeth Maritim (Infectious Disease Physician). The discussion was moderated by Dr Moses Masika, a Virologist.

Professor Anzala highlighted the likelihood of viral infections from animals to cross-over to humans sporadically and emphasized the need for continuous surveillance using a one-health approach to human, animal and environmental assessments.

Professor Bukachi pointed out that we need to understand how different people perceive COVID-19 based on their cultural and social background and engage communities in designing contextualized and culturally sensitive control strategies. She also emphasized on the need for timely and consistent information and dialogue using trusted sources and channels

Dr Joy Kiiru underlined the need for social protection to cushion the most vulnerable, measures by government and banks to reduce liquidity constraints and the need to manage consumer expectations but communication of control measures in order to reassure the public and allay any fears.

 On the prevention measures, Dr Godia advised everyone to follow basic hand hygiene, protect others if coughing or sneezing by using disposable tissue or a flexed elbow and to clean surfaces regularly with soap and water. She also advised social distancing by staying at least one meter away from symptomatic persons and avoiding large gatherings or events. Non-essential travel should be avoided and those who have travelled were advised to self-quarantine for two weeks in order to protect others.

Dr Maritim reported that although there was no definitive cure for COVID-19, sick persons would be offered supportive treatment to manage their symptoms. She pointed out that most people with COVID-19 would only suffer mild to moderate illness with no need for serious medical interventions. Only four out of a hundred sick persons were likely to die. People at the greatest risk are the elderly and those with underlying conditions such as chronic lung and heart diseases. She advised anyone who may be exposed to COVID-19 through travel or interactions with a sick person to contact the ministry of health if they developed cough, fever or breathing difficulties.

The ministry of health has provided the following hotlines for people who need more information on COVID-19: 0800721316, 0732353535, 0729471414

School of Public Health, University of Nairobi - https://sphun.uonbi.ac.ke/

School of Economics, UoN - https://economics.uonbi.ac.ke/

Institute of Anthropology, Gender and  African Studies, UoN - https://african-studies.uonbi.ac.ke/basic-page/about-us

School of Medicine, UoN - https://med-school.uonbi.ac.ke/

On 10th January 2020, we hosted a delegation of students and teachers from Linnankoski High school and Linnajoki secondary school in Porvoo, Finland. The delegation was an educational tour; with a focus on the effects of climate change and health.

KAVI-ICR has an active collaboration with the University of Helsinki in Finland. Under this collaboration, a team of scientists from both universities as well as other institutions is conducting research on transmission dynamics of emerging infections and the environment.

We are pleased to announce the first Institut Mérieux – KAVI-Institute of Clinical Research Young Investigator Award Winner, Dr Loice Achieng.

Dr Achieng is a Senior Lecturer, Physician and Infectious Disease Specialist at the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Nairobi.

She is a champion for antimicrobial stewardship and has led the development of antimicrobial stewardship guidelines and policies at Kenyatta National Hospital, The Nairobi Hospital and Ministry of Health.

She is also conducting infectious disease research and is currently leading several clinical trials and basic research studies.

The award was announced during by Dr Kiplangat Sigei, the bioMérieux Medical Affairs Manager for Anglophone Africa, at the Annual Meeting of University of Nairobi STD/HIV/SRH collaborative research group on 27th January 2020.

The award is worth € 10,000 and enables the laureate to advance any infectious disease research of her choice.

We heartily congratulate Dr Loice Achieng for being the first winner of the Institut Mérieux – KAVI-ICR Young Investigator Award.

Annual Meeting of UoN STD/HIV/SRH collaborative research group: https://www.stihivresearch-kenya.org/

Dr Loice Achieng: https://profiles.uonbi.ac.ke/loisea_site/

Institut Mérieux: https://www.institut-merieux.com/en/home/


The New Year started on 24th January 2020 for KAVI-ICR Journal club with Professor Jason Kindrachuk from the Department of Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, University of Manitoba, Presenting on Ebola Virus. The presentation was titled 'Identifying the molecular determinants underlying Ebola virus persistence in incidental and reservoir hosts.' The KAVI-ICR Journal club brings together scientists and students twice a month to listen to presentations of various projects. It's usually held at KAVI-ICR boardroom at 7:00 a.m. for two Fridays every month. The attendance was tremendous with Professor Keith and his students joining from the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba.

The main topics of discussion centred on readiness of countries to deal with an epidemic, the Ebola Virus and possible transmission of Ebola virus post-treatment was also discussed. This presentation came at a time of the emerging coronavirus in china concerning the global community. A report by WHO highlights the need to create systems for preparedness of emerging diseases in a government and get guidance from the international organizations when it happens rather than waiting for help from outside first.

During the Journal Club, the outbreak in Sierra Leone was discussed by Prof. Kindrachuk and it was observed that the Ebola virus was detected in semen even after treatment with the virus being eliminated in the blood. Post-treatment effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) shown in patients being an emerging issue. The presentation was interesting which was evident during the question-answer session conducted by Professor Omu Anzala. After the one and half hour presentation, Dr Marianne Mureithi announced that the next journal club will be held on 7th February 2020. Check on our Website for future Journal clubs meetings.

Article by Sarah Nyanchera N.