FESK Launches The I-BONGO Community Trial

The Field Epidemiology Society of Kenya (FESK) has recently launched the Improving Brain and Other Newborn Growth Outcomes (I-BONGO) trial to assess the efficacy of an innovative package consisting of interactive text messaging and structured psychosocial support groups on developmental milestones of children from teenage pregnancies.  The interventions are targeted to teenage mothers in four sub-counties in Homa Bay County, which has the second highest burden of teenage pregnancies in the country.

Burden of teenage pregnancies is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, where a quarter of all pregnancies occur in teenagers. Teenage pregnancies are associated with poorer physical and socio-cognitive development during infancy and early childhood, partly due to inadequate knowledge on infant care. The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018 launched a global framework of nurturing care for early childhood development, with four domains: health, nutrition, responsive care, security and safety and early learning; this is the conceptual framework guiding the implementation of the project. The trial will run up to September 2020, and is supported by the Grand Challenges Canada, through the Saving Brains Initiative.

The implementation sub-counties are Mbita, Ndhiwa, Kasipul and Rachuonyo North. The project is spearheaded by Dr Valerian Mwenda (principal investigator), Dr Mark Obonyo (project coordinator), and a county team from the community strategy, consisting of the County coordinator, the four sub-county coordinators and 40 community health assistants (CHAs).

Project contacts:


Twitter: @IBONGO_trial

Facebook: Ibongo Trial


The Second Review Meeting For CHANJOTRACK Project

The Field Epidemiology Society of Kenya (FESK) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health is piloting an electronic immunization registry in Ndaragwa Sub County, Nyandarua County. The project was officially launched on 1st June 2018 in 18 health facilities in Ndaragwa Sub County. As part of support to the implementation team, a review meeting was held on 20th and 21st February 2019 at Ndaragwa Sub County. The meeting was attended by 56 health workers from the 18 pilot health facilities as well as representatives from the Ministry of Health,   Nyandarua County Health Department, Ndaragwa Sub county Health Department and FESK.

The participants used the forum to share experiences and lessons learnt in the implementation of the project whose goal is to improve vaccination timeliness and coverage by electronically registering all births and recording vaccines given to children.  Once children are registered in the system, automated SMS reminders are sent to the parents/caregivers to remind them to bring their children for vaccination. The pilot is progressing well and lessons learnt are being used to improve the system. For example, in 2018, a total of 2774 births were registered in the system (prospectively and retrospectively) which seems to validate the official birth estimates of 2761 for Ndaragwa Sub county for 2018. The BCG coverage for 2018 was 98% as per the records in the system which is much higher than what is reported in DHIS2. This shows that data quality is being improved by electronic capture of records.  We expect to analyze more indicators including timeliness of vaccination as the project comes to an end later in the year.


Another FELTP Graduate Gets Funding For Research Through FESK

A Feltp alumnus Solomon Karoki (MSc laboratory management and epidemiology) has been granted funds to evaluate an insecticide to aid in management of insecticide resistance in Kenya in the fight against malaria. The funds amounting to USD 80,000 will be used to evaluate the efficacy of sumi-shield® 50 WG in areas of mosquito resistance to pyrethroids to give Kenya a wider choice of insecticides for use in IRS. The product is manufactured by Sumitomo industries from Japan who are part of the research.

WHO figures show that nearly half the world’s population is at risk of malaria and, despite a drop in both incidence and mortality rates in recent years, there are over 200 million new cases every year. Increased prevention and control measures have led to significant gains, but these are under threat due to insecticide resistance, which affects 75% of countries with ongoing transmission of the disease. Rotating insecticides is one of the key strategies for avoiding resistance, however nearly 87% of affected countries are failing to do this, largely due to a lack of alternative chemistries to choose (WHO 2017).

Since the advent of insecticides resistance in mosquitoes in Kenya, the country has had only one registered third generation product for use. Sumi-shield® 50WG is a third generation IRS product with clothianidin 500g/kg as its active molecule. If suitable efficacy is realized in this study Kenya will have a product for use in IRS as per its IRM (insecticide) resistance management strategy. This grant is administered through field epidemiology society of Kenya (FESK).

In the study resistance status, mosquito diversity and behavior, the residual activity of sumi-shield ® 50WG will be assessed. The outcome of the study will help the National Malaria Program (Kenya) in shaping up advances towards malaria control interventions.

Mosquitoes in holding cages in an insectary awaiting sorting for susceptibility studies as a base line for the study

FESK Launches The CHANJOTRACK System

The Field Epidemiology Society of Kenya (FESK) launched the ChanjoTrack system on 1st June 2018 in Nyandarua County. The ChanjoTrack system is an integrated birth and immunization register platform that has been developed using USSD technology. Data is therefore collected and managed using all kinds of phones and does not therefore require internet or expensive gadgets to operate. By using the simplest phone (popularly known as mulika mwizi), one can register births, record immunization, query birth registration status and get child vaccination status.

The platform is being piloted in Ndaragwa Subcounty in Nyandarua where 18 health facilities are implementing the system. As at the end of July 2018, more than 1000 children had been registered in the system.

The ChanjoTrack system has been developed using a grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that was received through the Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) Round 19.