Global Disease Detection: Kenya
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been a trusted partner in Kenya since 1979 to help address public health challenges ranging from malaria to HIV/AIDS. In 2004, at the invitation of the Kenyan government, CDC established a Global Disease Detection (GDD) Regional Center in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop greater country and regional ability to meet endemic disease burdens along with new and changing pathogens.
GDD is U.S. CDC’s principal program for identifying and containing emerging infections around the world, and has been designated by WHO as a Collaborating Center for Implementation of International Health Regulations National Surveillance and Response Capacity. A central focus of GDD is the establishment and expansion of GDD Regional Centers in each WHO region.
The GDD Center in Kenya is headquartered at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Nairobi with a field presence in Kisumu. Primary partners include KEMRI, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, the Ministry of Medical Service, WHO, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, and other multilateral organizations, nongovernmental institutions, and multiple U.S. government agencies.
The Center’s activities and resources connect to WHO country and regional offices and Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response countries. As a result, surveillance and laboratory capabilities are joined throughout Africa.
The Center coordinates strategies and technical expertise with a broad range of partners all contributing to improved public health throughout Africa. For instance, the Center connects vital resources contributed through the U.S. Department of State and other global partners to build the region’s laboratory capacity through enhancing biosafety/biosecurity, disease detection and control, and engagement with scientists and public health leaders across the region.
“We have made great progress building laboratory capacity in the region with vital support from our GDD global network.” Dr. Kariuki Njenga, Director, CDC-Kenya Laboratory Program
Building Disease Detection and Response Capacity
Using the International Health Regulations (2005) as an organizing framework, the Center is helping Africa develop its own sustainable systems and capable workforce – relying on local rather than remote resources to develop expertise in:
- Emerging infectious disease detection and response
- Field epidemiology and laboratory training
- Pandemic influenza preparedness and response
- Laboratory systems and biosafety
- Zoonotic disease investigation and control
- Health communication and information technology
Responding to Health Threats
Together with Kenya’s Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Medical Services, WHO, and other partners, the Center assists the country and the region in detecting and responding to serious outbreaks of cholera, Ebola, drug-resistant tuberculosis, influenza, Rift Valley fever, and typhoid. Environmental conditions have contributed to additional health threats, including a severe outbreak of aflatoxin from contaminated corn, an important source of food.
Making a Regional Impact
From 2006-2009, the Center in Kenya has supported: