​Our People

East Africa​

The CoEWCH EA prides​​ itself in a pool of experts with vast knowledge and experience in multi-disciplinaries​​​. These include research, epidemiology, biostatistics, monitoring and evaluation, data collection, analysis and reporting, public health, paediatrics, gyna​ecology, and commuication.  ​​​​The team​ is comprised of enthusiastic and dedicated professionals who are committed to ​​meeting the mission and vision of AKU and the entity.​​​

Prof Marleen Temmerman

MD, MPH, PhD, Professor Obstetrics and Gynaecology, MBS, Honorary Senator

Prof Marleen Temmerman is the Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, AKU East Africa. She is a health professional and researcher who started her international career in HIV/AIDS in Kenya, 1985. She managed to combine academic leadership including research (large track record of research projects and over 600 books and publications), clinical work (over 18,000 deliveries), teaching and mentorship (over 50 PhD students) across Europe, Africa, and China, with global leadership (Elected Senator Belgian Parliament - Chair Committee Foreign Affairs, Development and Defence; WHO Director; Founding Director International Centre Reproductive Health), and advocacy to the benefit of the scientific world and the community at large. Currently she also is a full Professor at Ghent University Belgium, with leave of absence. Prof Marleen is also a member of the iERG, UN Secretary General Office; Penholder UN Global Strategy for Women's, Children, Adolescents' Health 2016-2030; Commissioner Guttmacher-Lancet Commission Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights; Member advisory group African First Ladies against Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer; Member Maisha Maarifa HIV/SRH Research Hub, Kenyan NACC. Senior Fellow Institute for Global Health Diplomacy, Geneva; Senior WHO Advisor Women, Adolescent Child Health.

Prof William M Macharia 

MBChB MMED, MSc (Clin Epidemiology), Dip (Haem-Oncology)

​Dr William Macharia is a Professor and Associate Dean for Research and former Founding Chair of Academic Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Aga Khan University Nairobi. He trained in health research and treatment of cancers and blood diseases at McMaster University, Canada (1989-91). Before joining AKU in 2007, he was Associate Professor in Department of Paediatrics at University of Nairobi and Director of the Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences. Other past appointments and responsibilities included being a member of Board of Trustees of International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN), Secretary General of Africa chapter (AFRICLEN), member of the World Health Organization WHO/AFRO advisory committee on health research and development and Member of DFID/IDRC/Welcome Trust funded Consortium for National Health Research (CNHR) Expert Scientific Advisory Committee. He chaired the Kenya Technical Working Group on national health research policies and governance strategy for Ministry of Health (2019). He was a member of Advisory Council of Kampala based East Africa Paediatric Haemato-oncology Fellowship training program that trains for EA region (2016- 2019). Dr Macharia is also the Chair of Murang’a County Level 5 Referral Hospital Health Management Board. He has published scientific papers in internationally reputable peer review journals and supervised many theses and dissertations. His current research interest is in health systems and capacity building for Health Research. He continues to be actively involved in teaching of paediatric residents and in treatment of children with cancers and blood diseases.

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Dr Abdu Mohiddin

Physician Scientist, Assistant Professor

Dr Abdu Mohiddin is a public health physician-scientist with interests in public health and health systems, in particular in maternal, child and adolescent health. Most of his work is with the CoEWCH with additional duties in the Department of Population Health contributing to the development of a Population Health Master’s degree. He has over twenty years' experience with multi-sectoral strategies to address needs and improve health. He has worked with a wide range of stakeholders in the UK and Kenya including local and national health authorities, healthcare and related services, academia, the voluntary sector and communities.

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Dr Angela Koech

Physician-Scientist, Assistant Professor OB/GYN
BSc (Anat), MBChB, MSc Epi, MMed Obs/Gyn

Dr Angela Koech Etyang is Assistant Professor at the Department of OB/GYN and co-principal investigator of the PRECISE Project  at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University – Nairobi. She is a medical doctor and holds an MMed (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) degree from the Aga Khan University and an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has seven years’ experience in clinical medicine and over three years’ experience in clinical research in the area of maternal and newborn health. She has been involved in setting up and conducting several clinical studies alongside a perinatal surveillance program at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust research programme in Kenya. Her previous work has been in the areas of maternal Group B Streptococcus and its role in neonatal disease, fetal growth and aetiology of preterm birth/low birth weight, preeclampsia and its risk factors and the role of inflammatory markers in preterm pre-labour rupture of membranes. She has publications in peer reviewed journals and has presented in several local and international conferences. 

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Dr Ferdinand Okwaro

Social Scienti​st, Assistant Professor 


Dr Ferdinand Okwaro is a Medical Anthropologist with over ten years of post-doctoral research experience conducting health research in various contexts and fields at institutional and community level. He obtained his PhD from Heidelberg University in Germany. Prior to joining the Centre of Excellence, he held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Oslo (Norway), a post-doctoral research fellowship at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and a vis​iting research fellowship at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Dr. Okwaro’s main expertise is in the design and implementation of health research projects employing a mixed method approach that combines qualitative and quantitative methodologies. He is also experienced in policy analysis and engagement as well as in evaluation of health programs.

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​Dr Helen Nabwera

Associate Professor and Physician Scientist


Dr Helen is a recent MRC/FCDO African Research Leader (2020) awardee working as an Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and a Physician Scientist at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health. She transitioned from her roles as a Senior Clinical Lecturer (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine) and an honorary Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases (Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, UK). She has over two decades of clinical research experience from sub-Saharan Africa and the UK. Dr Helen qualified from the University of Nottingham Medical School and did her postgraduate clinical training in the East and West Midlands Deaneries of the UK. She was awarded a Medical Research Council (MRC) Career Development Fellowship (2012-2015). During her fellowship, she managed a rural primary health care facility at MRC Unit, The Gambia’s rural field station in Keneba, and undertook research on growth faltering in early childhood in the rural communities. She has a PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2017) and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from LSTM (Distinction-2005). Dr Helen’s research focuses on exploring strategies to improve growth outcomes of children in impoverished communities in sub-Saharan Africa. This involves co-designing and testing innovative strategies that integrate early child nutrition with maternal well-being, to reduce morbidity and mortality among preterm/low birth weight infants. She has over 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has co-authored four book chapters in the fields of infant feeding, paediatric infections and early childhood growth. Dr Helen has won a number of prestigious awards including being nominated as one of the 2022 International Women’s Day Unsung Heroine’s at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine​​.​

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E​valine Lang'at

Research and Project Coordinator


Evaline Lang’at holds a Master of Public Health from Flinders University, Australia and a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing Science. She is a recipient of public health international professional fellowships (Afya bora fellowship in global health leadership and International Program in Public Health Leadership (IPPHL)) from the University of Washington. She has over 5 years’ experience in research governance having worked as the County Research Coordinator at the Department of Health, Kilifi County. As the research focal person at the department of health, she chaired the county health research committee as well as led the county in identifying priority areas for research, establishing collaboration with health research stakeholders, as well as strengthened the use of evidence to improve health sector performance. She has equally served within the clinical area (maternal and child health unit) where she actively participated in service provision for pregnant women, new mothers and their infants with a focus on making pregnancy a positive experience. At the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health (CoEWCH) she serves as a researcher and project coordinator whose role among others entails design, coordination and execution of global health research projects within the centre. She is equally the leading PI for an IDRC grant being implemented by the Centre, University of Manitoba and the County governments of Kilifi and Mombasa here in Kenya. ​

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Lucy Nyaga

Project Manager​

BA Social Studies, Master of Community Health and Development

Lucy Nyaga is a project manager at CoEWCH. She is a Community health professional who started her career by establishing/strengthening automated Health Management Information System (HMIS) which with the lessons learned was later updated and up-scaled in all the counties HMIS. She has been influential in promoting Early Child Development in Kenya and East Africa through UNICEF-Care for Child Development (CCD) and Science of Early Child Development by Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and Red River College. A holder of Bachelor of Arts (BA) (Social Studies) and (Master of Community Health and Development) Lucy has played a key role for over 5 years managing European Union (EU) sponsored Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) project (Phase I and II) working closely with the Ministry of Health in implementing the government health policy of Community Health Strategy. Currently working as a project manager under the leadership of the director Centre of Excellence in Women & Child Health, Aga Khan University East Africa for Mimba Yangu Project.

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Grace Mwashigadi 

Research Coordinator


Grace Mwashigadi is a Research Coordinator at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University. She is responsible for technical leadership, coordination, and implementation of studies in maternal and newborn health for PRECISE Study. She has cumulative experience spanning 11 years in clinical research management, qualitative research, quality assurance and stakeholder engagement. She previously worked at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust and ICRHK in HIV/AIDs studies among vulnerable populations. She has Leadership and Management in Health training from The Ohio State University, USA. She is a former Queen Elizabeth II Scholar, SANTHE and Mandela Washington Fellow 2016. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from Simon Fraser University, Canada. ​

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​Josephine Kizidio

​​Research Project Coordinator

​MPH, Bsc in ​Public Health, Dip. in Nursing

​​Josephine is a​ Project coordinator at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University. She is a public health coordinator and nurse by profession. She has worked in several clinical research projects as a technical leader and coordinator. She has 14 years in clinical research management in quantitative studies and over 10 years in the​​ nursing profession. She previously worked as a project coordinator for Oxford university in Interbio 21st, Intergrowth 21st and Interpractice 21st and as a registered community Health nurse/ midwife in Aga Khan University. She holds a Master’s in Public Health in Project planning, monitoring and evaluation from Kenyatta university and Bachelor of science degree in public health (Environmental Health) from University of East African, Baraton and a Diploma in community Nursing/ midwifery from Aga Khan University, Kenya. ​

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Grace Wairimu

Centre Manager

Grace Gathoni Wairimu is an Administrative Officer at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University, Nairobi. She is a marketer by profession. Grace has worked in different roles across various institutions both private and public, with vast experience in Project Management, Sales and Marketing as well as Administration. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing from the University of Nairobi and a Masters in Project Planning and Management from the University of Nairobi.

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Irene Kibara

Associate, AKU Mombasa Research Office
MBA, Strategic Management, CPA (K)

Irene Kibara is an Associate of the CoEWCH based at the AKU Mombasa Research Office serving as a focal person for research administration for the projects in Coast Kenya under the ​department of Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health. She joined AKU in May, 2017 as an Administrative Manager for the Mombasa Research Office until February 2022. She is currently involved in the day to day office and projects’ administrative roles for CoEWCH in liaison with the Project Managers in Coast. She is a Certified Public Accountant, CPA (K), Strathmore College alumni and a holder of MBA Strategic Management from Daystar University. With an experience spanning to more than 15 years, she has worked in senior roles in research and implementation projects handling both administrative and financial duties. Previously, she worked for International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH) for 12 years having risen from an Assistant Accountant to the Director of Finance, Administration and Human Resources.​

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Maura Malanga

​​​​Communications Officer

BA Communications

​Maura serves as a ​​Communications Officer at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health (CoEWCH) whereby she handles the internal and external communications of​​ the entity. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications (Public Relations Concentration) from Daystar University with cum laude honours​​​. Maura has extensive experience in Corporate Communications and Affairs, Public Relations, Digital Marketing, and Event Management. She previously worked at KCB Bank Kenya under the Corporate Affairs division and at Dimension Global Communications as a Public Relations and Digital Marketing Officer where she brought substantial success by building beneficial links through the implementation of effective communication strategies. She has additional interest in community  development, international relations, and crisis communication and management.

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​​​​​​Nancy Gichobi

Administrative Officer
Dip, Public Health 

Nancy Gichobi ​has experience in Office Administration and Customer care with a background in Public Health, especially in Maternal and Child Health, HIV/AIDS as well as Procurement. She has worked in various organisations in different roles.​​​

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Norah M. Matheka

Program Assistant

​BA Business Administration and Management

Norah Matheka’s background spans from Business Administration and Management, to Business Communication, Community Development, Management of Information Systems, Health and Safety, Basic First Aid as well as Nutrition. She currently serves as the program assistant in the Department of Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health in Aga Khan University, Nairobi, Kenya. There are 2 NIH grants that she directly has supported and still supports. One of the grants ended in March 2022. She possesses great leadership skills with over 20 years’ experience in the field of administration, business management and accounting. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management (Daystar University), cumulative GPA of 3.38/4.00.  She received a higher diploma in Institute for the Management of Information Systems (IMIS) - (Strathmore College/University). Norah volunteered with an organization known as CAREFORCE in the United Kingdom specifically in London with All Souls Church where she assisted with the various programs. She worked with Sisilo Childcare Centre where she worked as a marketing officer, she then moved to African Inland Mission (AIM). At AIM she worked as payables officer, cashier and subsequently to Accounts Assistant. Thereafter she joined Light of Africa (LoA) as a bookkeeper/ administrator, a position that introduced her to the area of human resources. Her first experience in the area of clinical research was with University of Washington – TREE program in 2012 as a program administrator.  This position catapulted her to various facets of research administration from adhering to sponsors requirements regarding expenses, observation of study protocol by assisting study monitors when they visited the study as well as exposure to grant proposal submission. 

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Rhoda A. Otieno

County Research Project Officer

​​Ms Otieno joined the CoEWCH in 2020 in the position of County Research Project Officer (CRPO). She has been engaged in conducting research on the Impact of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health at various levels - individual, community and health systems. She has also supported research conducted by the Aga Khan University in collaboration with the Kenyatta National Hospital on the Evaluation of Technologies for Neonates in Africa (ETNA). Ms Otieno is the holder of a Bachelor degree in Business Administration (BA hons) and prior to joining the CoEWCH, had over 7 years of progressive health research (in fields of health seeking behaviour, bioethics and policy analysis) and administrative experience in various capacities and institutions including the Aga Khan Educational Service and Joseph Mutinda Audit Co. She is currently writing her master's degree in Public Health from Brunel University in the UK. Her Masters’ project examines the gendered aspects of health care service provisioning with a focus on the impact of COVID-19 on the health and socioeconomic welfare of the female workforce. Her academic interests revolve around the interplay between the organization of health care service provisioning, health care labour distribution and administration and career development possibilities and associated health and economic vulnerabilities amongst different cadres of health care personnel.  ​


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Agnes Mutua

​​​​Study Coordinator

BSc. Environmental Health, MSc. Epidemiology

​Agnes is the coordinator for the PRECISE-DYAD study at the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University.  She has an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a BSc in Environmental Health from Kenyatta University, and has postgraduate training in Health Research Methods from KEMRI-Wellcome Trust. Agnes's research interest is in the relationships between nutrition, social determinants, biological risk factors, and child development and to improve developmental outcomes in young African children. Agnes previously worked as a research officer at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme where she investigated the effects of vitamin D/ iron status and anemia on child neurodevelopment. ​

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On​​​​​​esmus Wanje

Community Liaison Officer

Onesmus leads community engagement activities for the PRECISE network studies as a Community Liaison officer at the Aga Khan University's Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health. He is a current MPH student at Pwani University and holds a Bsc in Community Health from the Technical University of Mombasa. Onesmus has eight years of experience and strong expertise in Community work, youth programming, policy advocacy, implementation research and projects transition planning.  Previous organizations that he has worked with include University of Washington (Mombasa Research Site), Bomu Hospital, VSO International, Tesla Exploration International and World Vision Kenya. 

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Moses Mukhanya

​​​​​Research Officer and Data Manager

Moses Wabwile Mukhanya is a computer scientist by profession working in the department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aga Khan University. He joined Aga Khan University in September 2020 and he is currently supporting PRECISE, PRECISE-DYAD and all Sub studies under the two main studies in overseeing, coordination and supervising data management activities. He ensures that all data management systems, devices and all ICT systems work are running seamlessly. He has a degree in Computer Science from Kibabii University with 6 years of practical working experience in systems design, development, setup and end user manual developments and trainings. He has previously worked with Impact Research and Development Organization as a Health Management and Information Systems (HMIS) Officer where he oversaw successful implementation of electronic data collection systems for Outreach HIV testing and Treatment Centers. Moses has trainings in Monitoring and Evaluation [University of Washington and NASCOP], Fundamentals of Global Research and Policy Development and Advocacy for Global Health [University of Washington]. Moses also has trainings in Data Science for Professionals, Python and R certifications for Data Science.

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Margrette Hanselmann

​​​​Study Coordinator

Margrette Hanselmann is the study coordinator for the Adolescent perinatal mental health study (INSPIRE) in Kilifi. She has previously worked in different capacities in research studies and health development projects including Mama na Mtoto II, a community based project that sought to understand and improve maternal and child health needs in rural communities, which offered her an opportunity to be part of the authors for a publication on Prevalence, Incidence and Predictors of Volunteer Community Health Workers Attrition in Kwale. Margrette also served as a Project Officer, Nutrition Lead and Gender Focal person for AQCESS, an RMNCAH project. Most recently,  she served as the County Research Project Officer for studies that looked into COVID 19 pandemic, its mitigation measures and impacts on health service access and delivery, focusing on SRH and GBV. She has a background in Public Health and is currently pursuing a Masters in Monitoring and Evaluation.

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Barack Aura Obara

​​​​Data Associate

Barack is a Data Associate at The Aga khan University, attached to the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health, East Africa. Currently, he is working with the​ WHO COVID-19 in Pregnancy cohort study. He holds a Bachelor of Science in IT degree as well as a Diploma and Higher diploma in Information Systems Management.  Barack has over 15 years' experience working within Data Management departments within reputable medical research institutions in Kenya as a Data Manager/ Data Analyst; Having worked for Kenya Medical Research Institute and Centers for Diseases Control and Preventions (KEMRI/CDC), KEMRI/FACES, University of Washington TREE program and now The Aga Khan University. He has experience in designing and maintain study databases, conducting and employing data quality audits, designing and maintain data collection, data cleaning well as reporting tools for both longitudinal and cross sectional research data. He also has experience working with programs such as Open Clinica, Redcap, and ODK for digital data collection as well as having knowledge in the use of STATA, SAS, Epi-info, and R for Data manipulations, analysis and reporting as well as Microsoft office suit. Barack has co-authored 14 peer reviewed papers published in reputed medical journal and trained and mentored over 10 staff in good data management skills.

Joycelyn Kathembe

Research Officer and Study Coordinator

Joycelyn Kathembe is a Research Officer/ Study Coordinator at the Aga Khan University's Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health. She holds an MSc in Nutrition for Global Health from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), as well as a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. With a proven track record of success in various capacities at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), she has extensive experience in nutrition and food safety research under the MoreMilk Project in peri-urban areas of Nairobi and Eldoret. She has also served as a program coordinator for the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy which nests the Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) programme. As a nutrition consultant, she made significant contributions to the development of national FAQs on Infant and Child Feeding in the context of HIV in collaboration with UNICEF, NASCOP and MoH. In addition, she contributes to the Annual Nutrition and Growth YearBook chapter on stunting in developing countries. Her expertise in maternal and child health is further demonstrated by her experience as a nutritionist in clinical and community settings, promoting infant and young child feeding practices and management of moderate and severe malnutrition. At the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health (CoEWCH),  she serves as a researcher and study coordinator whose role entails design, coordination, implementation of research activities and community engagement for the SVN follow-up study, as well as other global health projects within the center.