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Kenya and the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme

Wellcome Trust support in Kenya
Kenya is one of Africa’s most dynamic countries; the East African nation boasts a population that has swelled to over 39 million. This rise has been accompanied by increasing health challenges, which the country’s researchers are meeting, with a drive to succeed on local, regional and global fronts.

The KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme is well known internationally for its work tackling malaria and other infectious diseases, particularly bacterial and viral childhood infections. With links to the Trust since the 1940s, the Programme was formally established in 1989, in partnership with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). It conducts basic and clinical research in parallel, with results feeding directly into local and international health policy, and aims to expand the country's capacity to conduct multidisciplinary research that is strong, sustainable and internationally competitive.

Strong community links are at the heart of the Programme, with an emphasis on capacity building and training to build scientific leadership and create a critical mass of support from trained research and non-research staff. The Programme employs over 600 people, 95 per cent of whom are Kenyan. Of the 100 scientists in the Programme, 75 are East African. A £9 million Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust is helping to train local researchers in areas such as translational research, social science and clinical trials.

The Programme plays a key role in a number of regional initiatives, such as the Network for Surveillance of Pneumococcal Disease in the East African Region (netSPEAR). It also has increasing links with researchers and institutions around the region, with research projects based in neighbouring countries such as Somalia and Uganda. For example, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the Programme is supporting studies in a large cohort of people with sickle-cell disease to define the natural history of the disease and to improve treatment and management.

Key research areas and achievements Learn about the research performed by the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme.
Other activities in Kenya Learn about the other activities that we are supporting in Kenya.
Interview with the Director of the Programme Watch or listen to Professor Kevin Marsh discussing the work of the Programme.
Collaborating institutions Learn about the institutions that collaborate with our Programme.
Map and contact details The locations and contact details of the places we fund in Kenya.
Wellcome Trust, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, UK T:+44 (0)20 7611 8888