The Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health (CoE WCH) of the Aga Khan University (AKU) was established in 2012 as a university-wide strategy to focus on the health of women and children. Prof. Dr. Zulfiqar A Bhutta was appointed as Founding Director, and in 2015 AKU welcomed Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman, as the East Africa Director of the Centre to build capacity across the region.
The AKU CoE WCH contributes to research and knowledge management with specific focus on health systems strengthening and quality of care, particularly in remote and vulnerable populations. It is involved in evidence-based advocacy and capacity development, impacting on health worker training to serve the needs of the most vulnerable populations in low and middle-income countries.
The Centre is well positioned as an academic knowledge management hub working in collaboration with other regional academic teams to potentially address priority research issues of relevance to women and children in developing countries. It’s large existing portfolio of work relates to infectious diseases, perinatal health and outcomes, maternal and child nutrition, and early childhood development.
In East Africa, the Centre has engagement in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Mozambique. It is instrumental in strengthening the local capacity in research and learning. In its various programmes, the CoE WCH works in collaboration with governments, academia, private sector, development partners, civil society and other stakeholders.
Prof Dr Marleen Temmerman is a well-recognized global leader in women, adolescent and child health and rights. She brings academic, technical, political, governance, management and leadership skills to the table as well as diplomacy, advocacy, fundraising, training and clinical expertise. She has a strong track record of working with governments, multilateral organisations, academia, professional bodies, development agencies, private sector, consultancy agencies, civil society, non-governmental and faith based organisations, in a global and changing world. She is known for strategic partnership building and communication skills and has the ability to build relationships and influence at the highest levels. She is a trust-builder with diverse groups of stakeholders, leading to innovation, creativity and strong partnerships.
Currently she is Head of Department Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University (AKU) East Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Dr. Angela Koech Etyang is a physician scientist at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health and an Instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aga Khan University – Nairobi.
She is a medical doctor and holds an MMed (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) degree from the Aga Khan University and an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has 8 years’ experience in clinical medicine and over 4 years’ experience in clinical research in the area of maternal and newborn health. She has been involved in setting up and conducting several clinical studies alongside a perinatal surveillance program at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust research program in Kenya. Her previous work has been in the areas of maternal Group B Streptococcus and its role in neonatal disease, fetal growth and aetiology of preterm birth/low birth weight, preeclampsia and its risk factors and the role of inflammatory markers in preterm pre-labour rupture of membranes. She is also interested in improving routine data collection systems in pregnancy and reducing inequities in access to health care in pregnancy and delivery. She has publications in peer reviewed journals and has presented in several local and international conferences.
Dr Sikolia Wanyonyi is a consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology with interest in fetal medicine and high-risk pregnancy. He has over 13 years of diverse experience having worked as a clinician in resource-poor areas in Kenya, the private sector and in the UK. He holds a Masters in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from the Aga Khan University, Nairobi and is a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (UK). He is currently pursuing an International Master in Maternal Fetal Medicine with the University of Barcelona and Fetal Medicine Barcelona, Spain. His research interest spans around fetal growth and high-risk pregnancy especially in resource poor settings. Prior to joining Aga Khan University in his current position, Dr Wanyonyi undertook a 2-year clinical research fellowship at the University of Oxford, UK dividing his time equally between clinical duties at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS trust and research work with the INTERGRWOTH 21st project. He has widely published in peer-reviewed journals and is a member of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Kenya Society of Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology and is a council member of the Kenya Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society.
Dr. Patricia Okiro is a Paediatric Pathologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomic Pathology at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. She is an alumnus of the University, having obtained a Master of Medicine in Anatomic Pathology, and remained at the University as a member of Faculty following her graduation. She subsequently trained at the University of Cape Town, South Africa for two years, receiving a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Degree in Paediatric Pathology, that encompasses placental and perinatal pathology. Her research background includes work on Paediatric brain tumours, as well as incidence of Pneumocystis in the paediatric age group. She is currently involved in a multidisciplinary study looking at preterm birth and microbiota, as well as a study looking at apoptosis in pre-eclampsia. Her research interest is in perinatal and paediatric pathology in the region, to improve maternal and foetal outcomes.
Dr. Geoffrey Omuse is an Assistant Professor and Consultant Clinical Pathologist at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya. He is also the current Chairman of the Kenya Association of Clinical Pathologists. Since 2012 he has been a consultant running the Clinical Chemistry section at AKUHN as well as teaching in the Master of Medicine in Clinical Pathology programme. He has several research interests including antibiotic resistance, pathogenicity of Staphylococcus aureus, molecular epidemiology of bacterial infections and reference intervals for haematology and biochemistry tests. He is the country lead for a study being carried out by the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry that is trying to explore the possibility of having harmonized adult reference intervals for common laboratory tests. He is also part of a team studying the effect of maternal stress on preterm delivery.
Amina Abubakar is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Public Health at Pwani University, Kenya and a Research Fellow at the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Programme. She co-leads the Neuroscience research group at KEMRI-WTRP a dynamic multidisciplinary research group interested in child and adolescent well-being. She is also an honorary fellow at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, UK. She has developed, in collaboration with colleagues, measures of early child development for use in Low and Middle-Income Countries which are currently in use in several African countries. In 2016, she won the Royal Society Pfizer Award in recognition of her pioneering psychological research in East Africa, and for the impact her work has had in the field of neurodevelopmental assessment. Her substantive work has focused on the adverse impacts of a range of health conditions on young people’s neurocognition and mental health. In 2016, She was awarded the MRC/DfID, African Research Leaders award to investigate the associations between executive functioning and mental health, medical adherence, risk taking behaviour and scholastic outcomes among adolescents in the context of HIV.
Grace is the Study Coordinator at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University. She is responsible for technical leadership, coordination, and implementation of studies in maternal health for PRECISE Study. She has 10 years’ experience in clinical research management, qualitative research, quality assurance and stakeholder engagement. She previously worked at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust and ICRHK in HIV/AIDs studies among vulnerable populations. She has Leadership and Management in health training from The Ohio State University and University of Washington. She is a former Queen Elizabeth II Scholar, SANTHE and Mandela Washington Fellow 2016. She holds a master’s in Public Health from Simon Fraser University, Canada.
Agnes joined the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University in 2021 as a Study Coordinator. Agnes ensures the set-up of sub-studies, coordination, and implementation of day-to-day activities for the PRECISE-DYAD study. She holds an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a BSc in Environmental Health from Kenyatta University, and has postgraduate training in Health Research Methods from KEMRI-Wellcome Trust. Agnes’s research interest is in the relationships between nutrition, social determinants, biological risk factors, and child development and to improve developmental outcomes in young African children. Prior to joining the team, Agnes worked as a Research Officer at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme where she investigated the effects of vitamin D/ iron status and anemia on child neurodevelopment
Isaac is a Research Assistant – Laboratory Technologist at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Heath at The Aga Khan University.
He holds a Diploma in Medical Laboratory Science. He has 5 years of experience in both clinical and research areas. He has been involved in conducting the Kenya Population Based HIV Impact Assessment Survey (KENPHIA) under the Ministry of Health. He also has training in Leadership and Management in Health and Clinical Management of HIV from The University of Washington.
Joseph Mutunga is laboratory technologist by profession, working with Aga Khan University as research assistant in a PRECISE Project based in Kilifi Rabai Kenya. He holds a diploma in medical laboratory science, Certificate on Leadership management from University of Washington and currently pursuing Monitoring and evaluation online course in University Washington. He has two years’ experience in Research.
Moses Mukhanya is a Research Assistant – Data and IT in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aga Khan University. Moses is responsible for data management, end user training, data cleaning and setup and ICT infrastructure management at the site. He has four years of extensive experience working with various data collection apps, like mUzima, CHT, and OpenMRS and most importantly ODK which is the app currently used by the study. He is a computer scientist by profession with specialities in data management, data mining and programming.
Onesmus, is a Community liaison Officer at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University leading Community Engagement activities for the PRECISE STUDY. He holds a Bsc. Degree in Community Health from the Technical University of Mombasa. He has training in Leadership, Project management, Global health research, Clinical management of HIV and Epidemiology from the University of Washington department of e-learning. Onesmus has 7 years’ experience and robust skills in Community Engagement, Research (Implementation science, Qualitative and Quantitative research), Project Transition planning, Policy Advocacy and Youth programming. He has previously worked with University of Washington (Mombasa Research Site), Bomu Hospital, VSO international, Tesla exploration international and World vision Kenya. He is a Fredrich Ebert Stiftung alumnus of the prestigious Political Leadership and Governance fellowship and alumnus of Global Xchange programme.
Grace Gathoni Wairimu is an Administrative Officer at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University, Nairobi, having just recently joined the institution. She is a marketer by profession. Grace has worked in different roles across various institutions both private and public, with vast experience in Project Management, Sales and Marketing as well as Administration. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing from the University of Nairobi.
Doreen Thuo is an Administrative Assistant at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University, for the PRECISE DYAD study. She is responsible for office administration and logistics at the study sites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Development studies from the University of Nairobi and a Diploma in Administrative Studies from Kianda College. Doreen has over 5 years working experience having worked at various research studies at both public and private institutions.