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Grantees Profile

Jesse Gitaka

Country (Nationality)


Grantee Title

Project- Rapid and multiplex diagnosis of maternal bacterial infections

Grantee Description

Jesse Gitaka is an experienced physician scientist, investigator and lecturer in the School of Medicine at Mount Kenya University. He holds Bachelors of medicine and surgery from the University of Nairobi and a master’s in tropical medicine and Doctorate of Philosophy in medical science from the Nagasaki University in Japan.  Gitaka has worked as a rural district hospital medical officer, a field based clinical researcher at the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kilifi, for a children malaria vaccine trial, and as a consultant in Ebola setting health system strengthening in Liberia. He is a principal investigator on several studies spanning from the bench to field questions in the areas of maternal and newborn health and infectious diseases. Gitaka is also keenly interested in the role of innovative technology in health at scale. He is a recipient of multiple grants including the National Research Fund, Grand Challenges and County Innovations Challenge Fund and has published in peer reviewed journals, with active collaborations locally and internationally.

Project- Rapid and multiplex diagnosis of maternal bacterial infections
Gitaka will lead the development and deployment of a point of care diagnostic for bacterial infections that have been implicated in poor pregnancy outcomes such as premature deliveries, still births, maternal and newborn sepsis and deaths. Their project will enable quick detection of these bacteria allowing for prompt treatment. They will test whether treating for these bacterial infections, which are usually not diagnosed, improves pregnancy outcomes in field situation. This strategy has the potential to inform pregnancy monitoring and follow up practice and policy.