Conducting Research and Monitoring & Evaluation
Since 1979, CDC and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) have worked together under a partnership called the KEMRI/CDC Research and Public Health Collaboration (KEMRI/CDC) providing an evidence base for interventions, like insecticide treated bed nets, used around the world.
Over the years, KEMRI/CDC has built a comprehensive research platform, which includes research on HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, emerging infections, neglected tropical diseases, and other public health issues. One priority area is HIV research, which focuses on evaluating methods to prevent the spread of HIV and improve the health of persons living with HIV. KEMRI/CDC, the only research site in East Africa, participated in a ground-breaking multi-country study of discordant couples (a stable relationship in which one person is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative) showing a 96 percent reduction in transmission of HIV to HIV-negative partners when the infected partner was on antiretroviral therapy. These results have influenced health policy and clinical practice in Kenya and around the world.
The prevention and control of HIV and TB are inextricably linked, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Among people living with HIV, TB is the most common co-infection and one of the leading causes of death. To measure the burden of TB in Kenya and to develop innovative ways of preventing and treating the disease, CDC-Kenya works with the Government of Kenya and local communities to improve service delivery to people most at risk. KEMRI/CDC is well equipped to test new diagnostics, vaccine candidates, and new treatment regimens. Additionally, KEMRI/CDC’s research focuses on neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) to better understand the immunology, prevalence, and geographic distribution as well as to study the impact of NTDs in persons co-infected with HIV, TB, or other diseases. As a result, CDC-Kenya is able to develop more effective prevention and control strategies.
KEMRI/CDC’s long standing research collaborations and well established platforms are able to support complex vaccine research. KEMRI/CDC, in collaboration with key partners like Aeras and the Program for Appropriate Technologies for Health (PATH) Malaria Vaccine Initiative, is in the advanced stages of testing an improved TB vaccine and malaria vaccine candidate. Following a safety and efficacy study, KEMRI/CDC is determining the most effective dose for infants for the improved and modern vaccine. This gold standard clinical trial is the first of its kind in over 80 years. KEMRI/CDC, in partnership with the Ministries of Health and PATH, is also conducting a trial for a malaria vaccine candidate. The study is being carried out in three sites in Kenya and six other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Thus far, this malaria vaccine is 55.8 percent effective in reducing the frequency of clinical and severe malaria in children 5-17 months.
Through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), CDC-Kenya reduces the impact of the HIV epidemic by supporting HIV prevention services - such as counseling and testing, youth risk reduction, prevention of mother to child transmission - as well as care and treatment services for people living with HIV. CDC-Kenya studies how these HIV services are implemented and what their impact is; evaluates best practices to determine what needs to be improved; and determines when effective activities should be scaled-up. This research includes analyses of program impact, efficiency, and cost effectiveness to guide future program planning and decision-making.