Translating Research into Public Health Policy & Practice
The effectiveness of CDC-Kenya’s work can be seen in the number and quality of evidence-based policies implemented by the Kenyan government and globally.
Supporting Evidence-based Policy
CDC-Kenya’s strong and unique integrated platform of activities eases the translation of public health research into policy recommendations for Government of Kenya officials. There is a long history of CDC successes in Kenya. Over twenty years ago, the development of national and international recommendations for bed nets usage as effective prevention for malaria came out of research conducted by CDC-Kenya and its partners. More recently research by CDC-Kenya’s partners showed that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) reduces the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission by approximately 60 percent. CDC has supported Kenya Ministry of Health officials in implementing VMMC guidelines resulting in more than 130,000 voluntary male circumcisions over the past three years.
Similarly, as a result of a KEMRI/CDC study that evaluated the use of zinc treatment for diarrhea in children, the Ministry of Health recently decided that it will introduce the use of zinc supplements for 10-14 days, along with an oral rehydration solution, for the management of diarrhea in children under five years of age who come to health facilities. Globally, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five and a major area of research for CDC-Kenya. As part of a three year case-control study of moderate-to-severe diarrhea in children under five, CDC and partners are examining why infants and children become severely ill with and die from diarrhea, which can be prevented, and hope to put policies in place in the future to reduce preventable diarrhea-related deaths.
Contributing to Recommendations and Guidelines
Sustainable public health system infrastructure and comprehensive surveillance systems are critical to timely policy and strategy development necessary to assure maximum health impact. CDC-Kenya is working closely with the Division of Non-Communicable Diseases at the Ministry of Health to help develop a national non-communicable disease (NCD) action plan to guide the country in the prevention and control of NCDs and the allocation of resources to the highest priority NCD areas. In addition, CDC plans to support the development of a behavioral risk factor survey across Kenya to better understand what behaviors and lifestyle choices are leading to a greater risk of NCDs.
The Kenya Medical Research Institute and CDC collaboration (KEMRI/CDC) in western Kenya was the only site in East Africa that was part of the multi-country ground-breaking study (HPTN052) that showed a 96 percent reduction in HIV transmission in discordant couples – a pair of long-term partners where one partner in HIV-position and the other is HIV-negative – when using early HIV treatment. CDC-Kenya is now helping contribute to the Ministries of Health’s guidance to expand HIV treatment as prevention activities nationwide.