chapter  18
3 Pages

The Walter Reed Project/US Army Research Unit

ByDenielle Elliott

The Walter Reed Project joined KEMRI as a result of their research and studies in veterinary medicine, because they had been working in Kenya since 1969. So by the time we brought them in under the umbrella of KEMRI, they had already been working in Kenya for many years and had settled in. I moved them from the veterinary laboratories to KEMRI/DVBD. Yes, they have been here since 1969 doing medical research on trypanosomiasis, which is sleeping sickness, in our veterinary laboratories, or the “vet labs”, which is what we call them. This fell under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries since sleeping sickness, or Nagana, was common in African cattle. But trypanosomiasis was also spilling over into human health because we have human sleeping sickness as well. We gave an excuse in around 1980 that, since trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis are caused by flagellates, these are little parasites that are free flowing in blood, the army research unit could be in the DVBD. Yes. Their vectors are tsetse flies and their control is under the mandate of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. They are endemic in the Lambwe Valley of Homa Bay County. While I was Director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, I worked to eradicate it so there were very few cases when I was in charge of that in this republic. There were only 13 cases in one year.