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The Directorate of Public Health is headed by Dr. Francis Kuria and has three departments each with multiple divisions under them. The key functions are disease surveillance and response, public health laboratory services and environmental health services. These functions are achieved through policy development, service delivery and technical support to counties.

The Department of Disease Surveillance and Epidemic Response is responsible for monitoring and early detection of disease outbreaks, disease surveillance and coordination of response activities through the activation and synchronized coordination of Rapid Response Teams. The department also coordinated one health activities and global health security matters on behalf of the government. Neglected Tropical Diseases are also handled in this department as they coordinate mass treatment [mass drug administration (MDA)] interventions for trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, intestinal worms and bilharzia in various endemic counties in the country.

The Department of Laboratory Services provides specialized public health laboratory services through reference laboratories and networks and External Quality Control. The National Public Health Laboratories (NPHL) are a conglomerate of eight (8) reference laboratories located in Nairobi, Malindi, Wajir, Marsabit, Kitale, Eldoret, Busia, and Machakos. The National Reference Laboratories located in Nairobi are: -

  • The National HIV Reference Laboratory
  • The National Microbiology Reference Laboratory
  • The National TB Reference Laboratory
  • The National Food Safety Reference Laboratory
  • The National Malaria Reference Laboratory.
  • The National Virology and mobile laboratory
  • The National Influenza Centre and;
  • The National Oncology and Biochemistry Reference laboratory

The NPHL receives clinical samples and clinical data from public and private healthcare facilities in Kenya for confirmatory diagnosis and also coordinates the allocation and distribution of reagents and other essential commodities to facilities supported by the Ministry of Health and receives, compiles and disseminates data for public health policy formulation.

The Department of Environmental Health handles health matters at point of entry/exit (land- crossings, maritime ports, and airports) including inspection and certification, vectors and vermin control, disinfecting, decontaminating of baggage, cargo, containers, conveyances, goods and premises. The department also advocates and promotes the mainstreaming of climate change and health in the health sector, offers technical support and capacity building and sensitization of the National and county healthcare workers on health care waste management and participates in development of policy documents and guidelines on infection prevention and control activities. Water and Sanitation and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is also an area concerned with protecting the health, safety and welfare of people engaged in work or employment.

The Directorate also handles Disaster, Emergency and Risk Management, The Public Health Emergency Operations and the Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP)


  • Disease surveillance and epidemic response
  • Environmental health 
  • Laboratory services

The directorate of health care services is currently headed by Dr. Julius Ogato in an acting capacity. The departments of National Blood Transfusion and Human Organ Transplant and National Health Systems Strengthening are domiciled in this directorate.

It is home to six divisions and seven units that focus on delivery of health care services. The national blood transfusion and human organ transplant department is tasked with five key functions among them is formulating and overseeing the implementation of policies for national blood transfusion services, developing guidelines and standards for blood service in Kenya, developing a comprehensive and coordinated national blood service based on voluntary non remunerated blood donations, establishing settings and mechanisms that will enable it superintend, regulate and provide blood transfusion services as well as providing technical Assistance and capacity building on blood transfusion services at the National and County level.

Additionally, the department of national health systems strengthening is tasked with overseeing implementation in the areas of traditional and alternative medicine, management of health workforce policy on human resources for health, offering forensic and pathology services, providing policy direction and governance of health products and technologies. Other responsibilities assigned to this department are management of national referral facilities, health care financing which includes developing capacity at the national and county level for universal health coverage.

Additionally, the units established under the directorate offer services such as dental and oral health, ophthalmic services, general clinic, rehabilitative, imaging/radiography, orthopedic and trauma as well as nursing services.


  • National Health system strengthening 
  • National blood transfusion services and human organ transplantation

This Directorate is in charge of Preventive and Promotive Health Services; Reproductive Health policy; Health Education Management; Preventive Health Programmes including health services; Coordination of Campaign against HIV/AIDS, TB & Malaria; Cancer Policy; and Nutrition Policy


  • Non communicable diseases
  • Family health 
  • Primary Healthcare
  • Strategic national public health programs 

Dr. Simon Kibias is the acting head of the directorate. The directorate has eight key functions. These include; formulation and oversight of implementation of policies on health standards, quality assurance and regulatory health services, coordination and maintenance of ISO certification, provide technical support in setting, reviewing, dissemination and monitoring implementation of norms and standards for the health sector, capacity building and technical assistance on standards, quality assurance and regulation to the national and county governments. The other functions specified are coordinating the development of accreditation framework acceptable to all stakeholders in the health sector, service delivery, develop, promote and ensure implementation of policies and strategies on patient and Health Worker Safety, coordinate the strengthening of the legislative and regulatory framework that governs the Health Sector and coordination of vetting of patients seeking treatment in foreign countries.


  • Health Standards and quality assurance
  • Health legislation and regulation 

Dr. Joseph Kimagut Sitienei is currently heading the directorate in an acting capacity. The directorate has two departments namely health policy, research and development and the department of health sector monitoring, evaluation and informatics. The key functions of the health policy research and development department include; Coordinating formulation, review, implementation of health policies, capacity building and technical assistance to National and County governments on health policies, strategies and guidelines.

In addition, it is tasked with health policy development and research and innovation including; establishing and maintaining national health research databases and repository, providing guidelines and standards on importation and exportation of biological specimens, guiding on authorization for access of health data for research, reviewing approval requests for shipment of biological samples for health research, developing, reviewing and disseminating health research frameworks and procedures and promotion of health research activities.

The department of Health Sector Monitoring, Evaluation and Informatics focuses on health informatics which includes development and management of national health information systems including; digital and ehealth platforms, monitoring and reporting on health sector performance, development of monitoring and evaluation plans and guidelines as well as capacity building and technical assistance to national and county governments on M&E frameworks, plans and performance management.


  • Health sector monitoring, evaluation and informatics
  • Health policy, research and development

Dr. Joseph Lenai is the Acting Head of the directorate. The primary role of the directorate is intergovernmental relations and health sector coordination and international health relations. It plays an advisory role on potential strategic bilateral/multilateral partnerships, seeks alliances with potential partners and acts as the liaison between MOH, foreign governments and other bilateral or multilateral agencies to promote mutual cooperation in local and global health.

Additionally, it articulates potential areas of health cooperation in bilateral engagements and creates awareness on health related issues locally and across the globe. Other functions include; facilitating active membership and participation of the ministry in international meetings/forums both within and outside Kenya such as the World Health Organization events, United Nations, East Africa Community, African Union among others.

The directorate is also tasked with tracking decisions and resolutions made during international meetings/forums to ensure implementation; prepare and participate in visits by foreign dignitaries and delegations to discuss global health issues. It also facilitates bilateral meetings and engagements to forge cooperation to advance the nation’s health interests in Kenya and abroad; developing and managing Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and other instruments of health cooperation with strategic partners. Lastly, it represents the Ministry of Health in intergovernmental meetings convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government agencies, such as Joint Consultations, Joint Coordinating Committees, Joint Technical Committees, Joint Ministerial Committees, Joint Trade Committees among others.


  • Intergovernmental relations 
  • Health Sector coordination and international health relations

The core mandate of the Directorate is to undertake general administrative duties. This includes; coordination, management and maintenance of infrastructure within the Ministry. The nine Divisions housed within Administrative Services include; Accounts, Finance, ICT, Human Resource Management and Development, Supply Chain Management, Legal, Central Planning and Project Management. The Directorate is also in charge of coordination and management of safety and security, coordination of planning, budgeting, financial management and preparation of performance evaluation processes.


  • General Administration