UoN launches center that utilizes data-driven approaches to control infectious diseases

Dr. Loice Achieng' Ombajo demonstrates how CEMA database works during the official launch.

The University of Nairobi officially launched a center of excellence that uses data-driven approaches to control infectious diseases in Kenya and Africa.

The Center for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (CEMA) was launched at the College of Health Sciences (CHS) on 9th June, 2021.

CEMA brings together a multidisciplinary consortium of epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, clinicians, mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and data scientists using data-driven approaches to control infectious diseases and improve health in Kenya and the African Continent.

The official launch of the center was presided over by acting Director General for Health in the Ministry of Health Dr. Patrick Amoth.

Dr. Amoth acknowledged the significant role played by CEMA to inform decision making in public health using locally generated data.

“We have seen the value of science in managing the pandemic. We will stick with science until we overcome the pandemic,” Dr. Amoth said as he noted the need for accurate and focused health data to inform policy interventions.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha pointed out the importance of data and the significance of CEMA in informing policy.

“Genuine data is power and knowledge because managing a public health emergency such as COVID-19 calls for a lot of sobriety in making rapid and meaningful decisions.”

“We must employ multidisciplinary approach in tackling the pandemic using relevant data to make effective decisions. Such decisions must be supported by locally relevant data. The data should be generated locally by the scientists,” the CS said.

Ministry of ICT and Youth Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary, Maureen Mbaka appreciated the pivotal role of CEMA in harnessing and analyzing data that has informed policy decisions to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.


The University of Nairobi’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama, emphasized the importance of data analytics in decision-making. He noted that CEMA will use data-driven approaches for the control of infectious diseases, and improvement of health in Kenya and the African continent.

“Data analytics helps decision- makers to predict the future with more accuracy and more importantly we believe that it provides organizations with creative solutions to business problems without errors of human Interventions,’’ Prof. Kiama said.

Dr Loice Ombajo who is the co-founder of CEMA, a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi and the Head of the Infectious Disease Unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital said staying ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic means having real time data to make decisions.

Short courses will be offered by the center to health workers and post-graduate fellows to improve their understanding of how to translate data insights into policies that improve public health.

Youtube: Launch of Center for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis, University of Nairobi