CDC in Kenya

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For 40 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has helped strengthen public health and laboratory systems in Kenya, creating an integrated research and program center. This model ties together multiple program areas, leveraging technical skills and a strong partnership with the Government of Kenya to build sustainable public health capacity. CDC also plays a key role in the implementation of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, and the Global Health Security Agenda.

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CDC Areas of Focus

CDC works in partnership with the Government of Kenya (GOK) to build sustainable public health capacities by focusing on:

Conducting Research on the Effectiveness of New Interventions

  • Preventing disease and reducing death through implementation of evidence-based public health programs.

Developing Surveillance and Health Information Systems

  • Supporting the development and implementation of population and facility-based disease surveillance systems to assess disease burden in communities, identify outbreaks, and evaluate the impact of health interventions.
  • Spearheading state-of-the-art and mobile data collection systems.

Building Public Health Workforce Capacity

  • Training future public health leaders in clinical, laboratory, public health science, program management, and leadership competencies.

Strengthening Laboratory Systems

  • Building the critical laboratory network necessary to assure health security.

Improving Emergency Preparedness and Response Capabilities

  • Strengthening the ability to rapidly detect and contain infectious disease threats as well as respond to natural and man-made disasters.

Conducting Research to Inform Policy and Practice

  • Partnering with stakeholders, including the National Institutes of Health, on clinical trials and evaluating new vaccines, diagnostics, and prevention strategies.
  • Collaborating with partners in Kenya and globally to use evidence gained through research to develop and implement effective public health policies applicable to low resource settings.

Implementing, Monitoring and Evaluating Evidence-based Programs

  • Evaluating, implementing, and scaling up proven approaches to achieve largescale and demonstrable reductions in morbidity and mortality.

CDC Program Support

Global HIV & TB

Global HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) Program supports the GOK’s efforts to expand and strengthen national HIV prevention, care, treatment, and surveillance by providing technical and financial support through U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

  • HIV Prevention programs support best practices among partners who offer HIV testing and counseling, voluntary medical male circumcision, evidence-based behavioral interventions, and prevention programs for key populations at high risk for HIV.
  • HIV Care and Treatment helps thousands of Kenyans living with HIV to receive care and treatment, including services for pregnant women and mothers with HIV to reduce risk of mother-to-child transmission.
  • Health Systems and Evaluation strengthens health systems and promotes quality of data, programs and scientific dissemination to advance Kenya’s national HIV response.
  • Surveillance and Epidemiology provides expert guidance in implementing HIV surveillance and conducting research to improve programs and inform HIV policy.
  • Laboratory, Blood Safety, and Infection Control focuses on improving the accessibility and quality of laboratory services and reducing the risk of HIV infection through improved blood safety and infection control practices in healthcare and laboratory facilities

More than 630,000 people on antiretroviral treatment (ART), representing an 81% achievement rate against the 2018 target to treat 780,000 people.


More than 400,000 pregnant women know their HIV status due to testing by CDC-supported sites. Of those who tested positive, 99% are on HIV treatment.


Nearly all HIV-infected TB patients treated in CDC-supported sites were on ART during TB treatment.

Global Health Security

Global Health Security Programs support efforts to protect the public’s health by conducting science to better understand emerging health threats and their prevention, thereby strengthening Kenya’s ability to rapidly detect and respond to disease outbreaks and other health threats. Additionally, CDC oversees the planning for and quality of medical screening of US-bound immigrants and refugees.

  • Global Migration and Health Program works with local and international partners to reduce morbidity and mortality among migrant populations, including refugees resettling to the United States.
  • Influenza Program supports surveillance to detect new influenza strains, monitor risk factors for severe disease associated with influenza virus infections, and evaluate new diagnostic, treatment, and prevention strategies.
  • Diagnostics and Laboratory Systems Program helps develop enhanced state-of-the-art diagnostic capacity to process and test for infectious diseases.
  • Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program has trained hundreds of future global health leaders with basic, intermediate and advanced skills in epidemiology and laboratory management.
  • Integrated Human-Animal Health Program promotes a “one health” approach involving human, animal, and environmental health experts to address epidemic threats.
  • Risk Communication and Emergency Response Program works with first responders, humanitarian organizations, and the GOK to provide technical support on emergency preparedness, response and recovery, and risk communication.
  • Global Immunization Program assists GOK in developing national policies, strategies, actions plans, and implementing projects to prevent and control vaccine preventable diseases. CDC continues to focus on maintaining polio-free status, achieving measles elimination and rubella control, and supporting immunization priorities of the Global Health Security Agenda.

25 outbreak investigations supported across the country.


52% of outbreaks received laboratory support.


The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative provides a CDC resident advisor as part of an interagency team with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to design, implement, and evaluate key malaria prevention and control activities in close coordination with the GOK and other partners.


More than 3.6 million people protected from malaria through the distribution of 1.8M bed nets, spraying of 212,000 houses with insecticide, and provision of 850,000 doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine to protect pregnant women, and providing 8M diagnostic tests.

Western Kenya Programs

Western Kenya Programs are implemented in close collaboration with host nation research institutions. This collaboration of 40 years is CDC’s flagship international research site, and has developed into a sophisticated and comprehensive platform for scientific study and service delivery particularly in the fields of HIV, TB, malaria and other communicable diseases. This platform attracts research projects and significant funding from academic institutions, the National Institutes of Health, and non-governmental organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


250,000 people are part of a health and demographic surveillance system that collects information every six months in Siaya County, western Kenya.

CDC Staff in Kenya
  • 36 U.S. Assignees
  • 149 Locally Employed
Kenya at a Glance
  • Population: 49,699,862 (2017)
  • Per capita income: $3,250
  • Life expectancy at birth: F 69/M 65 years
  • Infant mortality rate: 36/1,000 live births

Sources: World Bank 2018, Kenya
Population Reference Bureau 2018, Kenya

Kenya Top 10 Causes of Death
  2. Lower respiratory infections
  3. Diarrheal diseases
  4. Neonatal disorders
  5. Tuberculosis
  6. lschemic heart disease
  7. Stroke
  8. Cirrhosis
  9. Diabetes
  10. Congenital defects

Source: GBD Compare 2018, Kenya

Page last reviewed: April 6, 2021
Content source: Global Health