Opening of the Partnership for Education and Academic Research Laboratory in Webuye, Kenya!

Wendy OMeara and Eric Nalianya demonstrate for Governor Wangamati and Dean Atwoli the telemedicine capacity being developed at PEARL

On Thursday, the Governor of Bungoma County, the Vice Chancellor of Moi University, the Dean of Medicine and Dean of Public Health of Moi University joined Dr. O’Meara, Dr.

Laktabai and Dr. Kisaka to official open the PEARL laboratory in Webuye, Kenya. 

PEARL is the latest development in a longstanding partnership between Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya, Webuye County Hospital and Duke University. The lab is being established under the leadership of Jeremiah Laktabai, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Moi University, and Wendy Prudhomme-O’Meara, an associate professor of medicine and global health at Duke University who’s based full-time in Eldoret.

Housed in two forty-foot refurbished shipping containers with a state-of-the-art multi-head teaching microscope, the lab will initially focus on building clinical microscopy skills among technicians across 224 facilities in the region. Microscopes are a cost-effective and versatile tool for examining patient specimens and making accurate diagnoses, and nearly every rural health center in Kenya has a microscope. However, with the exception of malaria smears, these diagnostic tests are rarely performed due primarily to lack of expertise.

“There are so many different ways you can improve patient care with a microscope if you have the training to use it,” said Prudhomme-O’Meara. “We’re developing programs to help technicians in rural facilities learn how to better support clinical care with their microscope, which in many cases is the only piece of diagnostic equipment they have.”

Another goal of the lab is to support ongoing research efforts in Bungoma County, including studies on and interventions for HIV, hypertension, diabetes, fevers in children and malaria transmission, led by local and international faculty and trainees.

“Through our collaborative research projects, we’ve been able to improve care and prevention for illness in Bungoma County and beyond,” said Prudhomme-O’Meara. “We expect that PEARL will help us expand this work and impact, as access to a research laboratory will allow Moi University faculty and their partners to tackle critical research questions affecting clinical care and community health.”

Here’s a link to a story in the Kenyan national news:

The lab building and infrastructure were made possible by support from Webuye County Hospital, Duke University and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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