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Kenya has a National Public Health Laboratory Services system that operates under the Ministry of Health . The National Public Health Laboratories was built at around the years 1923.It was established as a research laboratory by the colonial Government.

The National Public Health Laboratories was built at around the years 1923.It was established as a research laboratory by the colonial Government. It was started by the British as an army Unit laboratory as a Medical Research Laboratory. In 1946, a division of Insect borne disease was started within the National Public Health Laboratories. This was later to become the present day DVBD (Division of Vector Borne Diseases) in 1972.

According to sources, in 1952-56 there was an outbreak of sleeping sickness and this lead to the description of the disease at this facility and it is at this same facility that the malaria cycle in the human liver was described.

The National Public Health Laboratories served as laboratories for the then King George Hospital the present day Kenyatta National Hospital which was built long after the laboratory was put up.

A source intimated that his facility used to prepare vaccines such as polio vaccine and water for injection for use locally and for export.
In 1956 the Ministry of Health and the British Research council built the TB-CRL (Tuberculosis Central Reference Laboratory) dedicated to TB culture and DST.

Presently, the National Public Health Laboratory Services comprises of 3 reference laboratories: Central TB Laboratory, the Central Microbiology Laboratory, and the National HIV Reference Laboratory. The National Public Health Laboratories have a link person to the Department of Primary Health Services where the Health centres and the dispensaries fall.

The laboratory system is structured into five tiers: dispensaries and health centres offering basic laboratory services, Nursing homes offering limited laboratory services, Primary/District hospitals providing laboratory services for in- and out-patients, Secondary/Regional/Provincial hospitals for comprehensive laboratory services for in-and out-patients, and Tertiary/ Reference/ Teaching/ Research offering highly specialized laboratory services.

Several institutions offer degrees in Medical Laboratory Science, including Mt. Kenya University, Kenya Methodist University, National Polytechnics, and general studies at    universities and research institutions.
Additional training for laboratory staff is available through short courses covering topics such as GCLP, biosafety, phlebotomy, ART monitoring, and equipment maintenance.

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