The ARNTD is pleased to profile Dr. Doris Warimu Njomo as the first personality in a new series aimed at promoting the visibility of ARNTD members, their research activities and collaborations.
Dr. Doris Warimu Njomo has 16 years of working experience as a social scientist in health related research at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). She holds a PhD in Public Health from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases (ITROMID), Kenya. Her dissertation covered “Factors Influencing Compliance with Mass Treatment in the National Programme for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis in Kenya.” Prior to this, her Master’s research focused on “The influence of Water and Sanitation Use Knowledge, Practices and Perceptions on Health Status of Residents of Maragua Town, Kenya”.
In the devolved system of Government, following the promulgation of the new Constitution of Kenya in 2010, Dr. Njomo is the KEMRI County Research Coordinator for the Isiolo Cluster of Counties made up of Embu, Tharaka-Nithi, Meru, Isiolo and Marsabit counties in Kenya. Dr. Njomo leads a team of researchers as the Principal Investigator in several projects including: “Responding to Gender and Age Needs in Prevention and Management of Drug and Substance Abuse in selected Counties of Kenya through the Health System”, and “Evaluating Different Drug Delivery Approaches for Treatment of Soil-transmitted Helminthiasis and Schistosomiasis Infections in the National School-based Deworming Programme among Children Attending Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centers in Coast Province, Kenya”, which are funded by KEMRI Health Research Funds (provided by Government of Kenya) and National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation, respectively. Dr. Njomo is also a recipient of a number of prestigious grants, awards and fellowships from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, administered through the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Centre at the Task Force for Global Health (Atlanta, GA, USA); Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR); the Children Investment Fund Foundation; and the African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship (ADDRF), through the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC).
An avid researcher and campaigner for quality health, through her research Doris continues to demonstrate umpteen commitments to de-worming programs for school-age children and building the capacities of teachers and health professionals in appreciating the contributions they can make in providing better health systems through health education programs and promotions. Her responsibilities have included coordinating research, in addition to capacity building and services delivery activities. She has been conducting operational research in Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis, Soil-Transmitted Helminths and Trachoma to support NTD Control and Elimination Programs. A number of her projects challenge the frontiers of research ethics by addressing issues such as choice of treatment strategies and the role of incentives in compliance with mass drug administration programs.
Doris is an author/co-author of several peer-reviewed publications and has also authored and/or contributed chapters to a number of books. She has applied her expertise in the organization of several of the KEMRI Annual Scientific and Health Conference (KASH) as a member of the organizing committee as well as serving as the Chair to the scientific sub-committee. She is also a Co-chair of the Annual NTDs Conference organized by KEMRI NTDs researchers in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Kenya. She has presented several papers in international conferences globally. Additionally, she serves as a reviewer in KEMRI Scientific and Ethics Review Unit.
Doris is married with 3 children. Her hobbies include vegetable farming, folk singing and folk dancing. Her favorite food is Ugali, green vegetables and tilapia from the shores of Lake Victoria.
“Working with school teachers in school health programs keeps me motivated. I am always impressed at the way teachers are able to integrate health education messages in whatever subject they teach at whichever level in primary school. True that with schools, we can improve the health status and thus the educational performance of the children”.
Dr. Njomo’s comments made in Tokyo, Japan during a group training short course, where she spoke on the JICA-funded school-based pilot project aimed at controlling parasites among school-age children using trained school teachers in Mwea, Kirinyaga County, Central Kenya.