History of Faculty of Health Sciences


The Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Nairobi is the leading tertiary healthcare training institution in Kenya and the East Africa region.  It was established in 1985 from the then Faculty of Medicine which had been in existence since 3rd July 1967.

At its inception, the Faculty had only one School, namely the School of Medicine which was established in 1967 and had three Departments: Dental Sciences, Nursing and Pharmacy. Since then, it has gradually evolved with the establishment of four other Schools and three Institutes. 

The mandate of Faculty is to train health personnel for the country, the African region and the world. The Faculty which started with an enrolment of only 30 students has to-date graduated 14,086 students.  Currently, the Faculty has an enrolment of 5,386 students, and a total of 1093 Staff comprising of 438 qualified academic staff and 655 research, technical, administrative and support staff. Staff at the Faculty offer specialized services at Kenyatta National Hospital, Mathare Hospital, as well as at the University of Nairobi Dental Hospital. Faculty staff also provides exemplary service to community through outreach programmes and medical camps held throughout the Republic of Kenya. The governance of the College comprises of College Management Board, College Academic Board, and School Boards down to individual departmental boards. The above organs incorporate students and other stakeholders as per statutes.

The Faculty has had six (6) Principals who contributed immensely to its current status as the leading tertiary healthcare training centre in the region.  They are:

  • Prof. Nimrod O. Bwibo (1983-1989)
  • Prof. Samuel K. Sinei (1990-2000)
  • Prof. George A.O. Magoha (2001-2002)
  • Prof. Joseph Kitonyi (2002-2007)
  • Prof. Isaac O Kibwage (2007 to 2017)
  • Prof. James Machoki (2019 to date)

 Principals gallery


VISION: An internationally recognized centre committed to scholarly and professional excellence in health care 

MISSION: To provide quality medical education and training through creation, preservation, integration, transmission and utilization of health knowledge 

CORE VALUES: To realize the stated vision and mission, the College aspires to nurture values that are vital to its mandate.  The College is thus guided by the right values derived from moral standards required of healthcare professionals, which is in line with those of the Kenyan society.  In respect to this, the core values of the College are:

  • Freedom of thought and expression: The College shall promote and defend freedom of thought and expression in academic inquiry and activities.
  • Integrity: In its interactions, the College shall be guided by the virtues of truth, honesty, tolerance and accountability.
  • Professionalism and ethics: The College shall nurture responsible professionalism, promote mentorship, maintain ethical behaviour and etiquette.
  • Leadership: The College shall provide leadership in setting the national and international health agenda.
  • Research culture: The College shall initiate and sustain relevant, creative, innovative and inventive research and ethical for the benefit of mankind.
  • Meritocracy and team-work: The College shall promote meritocracy and foster a work environment characterized by team spirit and teamwork.
  • Corporate governance and social responsibility: Good corporate governance, sensitivity to needs of the society and respect for human rights shall be the hallmark of the College.
  • Respect for and conservation of the environment: The College promotes protection of the environment.


  • To train high caliber health-care professionals
  • To offer health-related services to the community
  • To conduct research
  • To offer consultancy services
  • To participate in health policy formulation


    • Ensuring Health Care in Safe Hands


There are a total of 87 academic programmes  (1 diploma, 5 post graduate diplomas, 8  undergraduate, 41 master, 28 doctorate and  4 fellowships) offered at the College. The programmes have been developed as per Commission for University Education (CUE) regulations and Universities Standards and Guidelines 2014. These have been translated into a quality management system (QMS) Procedure for Curriculum Review and Development. The programmes are market driven and syllabi developed with stakeholder participation to ensure employability of the graduates. The undergraduate programmes offered include: Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB), Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees in Biochemistry, Physiology, Human Anatomy and Medical Laboratory and Technology. Postgraduate programmes offered include Diplomas, MSc, MMed, MDS, MPharm, MD and PhD in all relevant fields.


The Faculty of Health Sciences is the pioneer and leading medical training institution in Kenya. Graduates include medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses, dentists and biological scientists at all levels of training upto post doctorate levels. Allied science students of the adjacent Kenya Medical Training Centre (KMTC) also benefit from various graduate programmes offered through the College. The following are some of the key college accomplishments;

  1. Human Resources for Health

To date the College has graduated 14,086 students, some who hold some of the most distinguished positions in public and private sectors both locally and internationally. The College has a highly qualified complement of staff and represents the highest concentration of healthcare trainers in the region. Most academic staff are specialists in their fields many of whom are internationally recognized. The College has high calibre professionals who provide consultancy services to both private and public organisations. The College also houses the largest medical school in Kenya. The Schools of Pharmacy, Dental Sciences, Public Health,  KAVI-Institute of Clinical Research, UNITID and EAKI and are the premier institutions of their kind in the country as well. Accordingly, the College has gained a reputation as one of the best training centres in Africa. Additionally, the College has numerous alumni in strategic and influential positions nationally and internationally. Potential clients include government ministries, local industry, non-governmental organisations and other international agencies.

Diverse and specialized academic programmes

The College offers numerous programmes at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, public health and basic biomedical sciences. It has the highest output of both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in health sciences within the region.

2. Advances and Innovation

(2a). Medical Advances

Key milestones have been achieved through the medical and research teams from the College. For example, the department of Surgery and Kenyatta National Hospital successfully separated conjoined twins re-implanted a hand of a 17-year boy that had been chopped off accidentally and reattached a 15year old manhood that has also been chopped off. The successful operations were some of the most complex procedures to be done successfully in sub-Saharan Africa. These complex surgery comprised of multidisciplinary team of medical specialists in paediatric surgery, neurosurgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, anaesthetists and nurses. This endeavours caught the eyes of President, Uhuru Kenyatta who on his behalf and the Government, congratulated the medical team for the outstanding work and even went ahead to fete the team leaders with the State commendations.

(2b) Research and Innovation

The College engages in biomedical, social behavioural research which attracts the largest research funding to the University and our research portfolio is about KES one billion per year. Notable among the research projects are those involved in HIV/AIDS which have gained international recognition. The School of Medicine houses KAVI-ICR which is a centre of excellence in clinical research with state of the art and world class laboratories and equipment including a state of the art Deconvolution microscope, the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa.  The School of Pharmacy houses Drug Analysis and Research Unit (DARU) which is actively involved in pharmaceutical research. At UNITID, the ultra-modern Level III laboratory has been built to cater for emerging pathogens especially the viral hemorrhagic fevers. This facility is the third of its kind in Africa.

3. Globalization- Collaborations and Linkages

The College is also well known for its research capability, attracting many collaborations and linkages with Universities within the country, Africa, North America, Europe, Middle East, Continental Asia, and Australia. These include Universities of: University of KwaZulu Natal (Durban SA), Manitoba (Canada), Oxford (United Kingdom), Ludwig-Maxmilan (Munich, Germany), Kanazawa (Japan), Washington (Seattle, USA), Maryland (Baltimore, USA), Northwestern University (Chicago, USA), Texas (USA Ghent (Belgium), Siena (Italy).. All these institutions have various research studies/trials in collaboration with local researchers.

 4. Big Four Agenda:

The College is making major contribution in the realization of the Big four Agenda sent by the Kenyan Government. The training of students, researchers, scientists and other healthcare professionals contributes in the provision of the Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) which is one of the pillars of the Big four agenda.  The discovery of novel vaccine and drug candidates as well as novel medical devices and interventions will eventually lead to the local manufacturing of healthcare products boosting the manufacturing arm of the Big Four agenda.

5. Infrastructure

            (a) Centres of Excellence: The College has three centres of excellence which act as global hubs of research, teaching and innovations. These Centres are East Africa Kidney Institute, KAVI-Institute of Clinical Research and University of Nairobi Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (UNITID).

            (b) Teaching, Research and Learning facilities: The College has modern teaching and research facilities. Teaching is also conducted at satellite clinical sites supported by teleconferencing, e-learning and e-medicine.

            (c) Office of Research Grants and Advancement and Support (ORGAS): Through the ORGAS, the college has increased the number of successful proposals by closely monitoring the pre-award activities pertaining to call opportunities, maintaining an accurate and easily retrievable record of the grants projects, their milestones, financials and other non-financial information and enhance tracking and communication of any project grant documentation to all stakeholders.

            (e) Nairobi Surgical Skills Laboratory: Nairobi surgical skills center, housed at the department of Human Anatomy. This is an initiative of the University of Nairobi in partnership with Johnson and Johnson (PTY) Limited and Phillips Healthcare Technologies. The center, the first of its kind in Sub Saharan Africa is geared to training surgical practitioners’ good surgical skills.