Menu Close

Jessie N. Githanga

Prof, Haematology and blood transfusion, University of Nairobi

I am an associate professor at the University of Nairobi (UoN) where I train diverse healthcare workers including students studying medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, medical laboratory technology at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I have supervised student post-graduate thesis/dissertations. I have had considerable experience in designing and performing research with international and national collaborative groups as evidenced by 30 peer-reviewed publications in journals and a book chapter besides publication of numerous abstracts. I am currently a principal investigator or collaborator in several clinical trials and exploitative researches in haematology, blood transfusion and oncology. I provide clinical services at to the largest public teaching and referral hospital in Kenya, the Kenyatta National Hospital providing consultant services in haematology and oncology. I also provide part-time consultancy services at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, the largest children’s hospital in the region, where I also carry out research.
I have experience in policy formulation for laboratory services in Kenya and am an involved stakeholder with the Ministry of Health in efforts to improve cancer care in the country. I have held various administrative and leadership roles at the University and served on committees/working groups under the Ministry of Health and have participated in related strategic plan formulation.


1990 - 1991: One-year post-graduate fellowship in cytogenetics and haematology at the Health Sciences Centre, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. This was under a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) program.
Nov 1989: Master of Medicine in Pathology (MMed. Path), UON, Kenya.
1986-1989: Registrar in Human Pathology, University of Nairobi (UON) at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) Campus.
1984: Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) (UON)
1978 – 1984 Undergraduate medical student MBChB (UON)

2013 to date Associate Professor: Department of Human Pathology, Unit of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, Department of Human Pathology.
2009 - 2014 Laboratory lead as well as Master Trainer in the Partnership for Advanced Clinical Education (PACE).
2000 - 2013 Senior lecturer, Department of Human Pathology, Unit of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Department of Human Pathology.
2006 - 2011 Chair, Department of Human Pathology. Responsible for providing strategic leadership, financial management and development of the Department in core areas of teaching, service provision and research.
2004 - 2005 Chair, Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion.
1990 - 1999 Lecturer, Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion. Teaching, providing clinical services and undertaking research.
1989 - 1990 Pathologist at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) offering diagnostic services in the Department of Human Pathology.
1986 - 1989 Senior House Officer, Department of Laboratory Medicine at KNH while pursuing my post-graduate degree in pathology at the UON.
1985 - 1986 Medical officer Machakos Provincial Hospital, in Eastern Kenya.
1984 - 1985 Intern, Kakamega Provincial Hospital. .


2016: Gertrude’s children’s Hospital CEO’s recognition award for service to the hospital
2015: Continental Lifetime Achiever Award 2015-2016 Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards: Academic Sector for meaningful contribution made in Government Healthcare Sector from by CEO Communications.
2015: Regional Winner (East Africa) and Lifetime Achievement Award 2015 CEO’s Most Influential Women (MIW) in Business and Government Awards for meaningful contribution made in Government – Education Sector.
2014: Country (Kenya) and Regional award (East Africa) winner for the 2014 CEO’s Most Influential Women (MIW) in Business and Government Awards for meaningful contribution made in Government – Education Sector.
2014: Recognized at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital for special contribution to the hospital, for attracting the first multinational clinical trial to the Hospital.
2013: Selected as a finalist for the 2013 CEO’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards for meaningful contribution made in Government Healthcare Sector.
2000: Won an award for the best oral presentation for a paper on Oncogenesis at a workshop on Paediatric Oncology at the Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya.
1997: Awarded a British Council (Kenya) grant worth British Pounds 3,000 for a collaborative research with the University of Glasgow, Scotland on pharmacogenetics in British and African Populations.
1990 – 1991: Awarded a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) supported fellowship to pursue further postgraduate training in Canada for 1 year.
1991: Won the Penner prize for presentation of a paper on acute leukaemia associated with a t(4; 11) at the XVI World Congress of Anatomic and Clinical Pathology in Vancouver, Canada.
1990: Awarded a prize for the best post graduate dissertation from Roche Pharmaceuticals.

1. Founder Member and Committee member of College of Pathologists for East Central and Southern Africa (COPECSA).
2. Member and past Chairperson and of the Kenya Society of Haematology and Oncology (KESHO).
3. Member of the African Society of Blood Transfusion (AfSBT) and a member of the Kenya Chapter of the Regional Society for Blood Transfusion – Kenya (RSBT-K).
4. Member and a past Vice-Chairperson and of the Kenya Association Clinical Pathologists.
5. Member and a trustee of the Kenya Medical Women's Association. Formerly Chair of the Trustees.
6. Member of the Kenya Cancer Association.
7. Member of Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA).
8. Member of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.
9. Member Canadian Association of Pathologists (1991).

- Appointed Member of the HuQAS (Human Quality Assurance) Advisory Board October 2015. HuQAS program provides external quality assurance testing for laboratories in Kenya.
- Member of an Advisory Committee constituted to develop an Advanced HIV Clinical Course. This is work done under the Partnership for Advanced Clinical Education in HIV (PACE) programme in collaboration with the National AIDS/STD Control Program (NASCOP) for advanced training of HIV care providers.
- Member of the Kenya National Retinoblastoma Strategy Group which working closely with the Ministry of Health to improve management of retinoblastoma in Kenya. A member of the executive committee of the Retinoblastoma Collaborative Laboratory.
- Member of a specialist team writing national guidelines for use of hydroxyurea in sickle cell disease (March 2013). These have been adopted by the Ministry of Health.
- Member of the Technical Working Group of the Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board (KMLTTB) formulating Continuous Professional Development (CPD) policy and guidelines.
- Member of the team writing the core curriculum for Medical schools in Kenya under the auspices of the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (2012)
- Member of a team who carried out a review of the blood cold chain in Kenya under a CHI/CDC funded project. Was part of the select team writing the report (2012).
- Member of team writing the National Policy for the Medical Laboratory Services of Kenya (2010-2011).
- Was a representative of the UON through invitation by the Vice Chancellor as a member of a team from the East African Universities writing a document for the harmonization of medical curricula in the region (2009). The document was subsequently adopted and published by the Commission of Higher Education.

1. Qaiser S, Limo A, Gichana J, Kimani K, Githanga J, Waweru W, Dimba EAO, Dimaras H. Design and Implementation of the Retinoblastoma Collaborative Laboratory. Ocul Oncol Pathol 2017;3:73–82 DOI: 10.1159/000451000. Published online: October 29, 2016
2. Patel D, Dossajee HS, Kibet PS, Githang’a J. Paediatric colon adenocarcinoma at Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi: Case presentation. EAJP 2016; 3: 28-30
3. Mwachiro MM, Burgert SL, Lando J, Chepkwony R, Bett C, Bosire C, Abnet CC, Githanga J, Waweru W, Giffen CA, Murphy G, White RE, Topazian MD, Dawsey SM. Esophageal Squamous Dysplasia is Common in Asymptomatic Kenyans: A Prospective, Community-Based, Cross-Sectional Study. The Am J Gastroenterol , (23 February 2016) | doi:10.1038/ajg.2016.26
4. Heeney MM, Hoppe CC, Abboud MR, Inusa B, Kanter J, Ogutu B, Brown PB, Heath LE, Jakubowski JA, Zhou C, Zamoryakhin D, Agbenyega T, Colombatti R, Hassab HM, Nduba VN, Oyieko JN, Robitaille N, Segbefia CI, Rees DC for the DOVE Investigators* (* I was a DOVE investigator). A Multinational Trial of Prasugrel for Sickle Cell Vaso-Occlusive Events 2015. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1512021 Copyright © 2015 Massachusetts Medical Society.
5. Patel D, Githanga J, Okemwa PM, Muthuri JM. Childhood gastric adenocarcinoma – a diagnostic dilemma. East African Journal of Pathology. 2015; 2:34-37
6. Ilunga J, Raphael M, Hurwitz N, Leoncini L, Githanga J, Lebwaze B, Chumba D and Anani I. Telepathology: Role in improving laboratory techniques, diagnosis and research in low resource countries. East African Journal of Pathology. 2015; 2:30 – 33.
7. Lovvorn HN 3rd, Pierce J, Libes J, Li B, Wei Q, Correa H, Gouffon J, Clark PE, Axt JR, Hansen E, Newton M, O'Neill JA Jr, Kenyan Wilms Tumor Consortium. Collaborators (10) Genetic and chromosomal alterations in Kenyan Wilms Tumor. Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2015 Nov;54(11):702-15. doi: 10.1002/gcc.22281. Epub 2015 Aug 14. (I am a member of the Kenyan Wilms Tumour Consortium)
8. Libes, J, Oruko, O, Abdallah, F, Githanga, J, Ndung'u, J, Musimbi, J, Njuguna, F, Patel, K, White, J, Axt, JR, O'Neill, JA, Shrubsole, M, Li, M, Lovvorn, HN. Risk factors for abandonment of Wilms tumor therapy in Kenya. Pediatr. Blood Cancer. 2015; 62: 252–256. doi: 10.1002/pbc.25312
9. Njoroge RN, Mwamba PM, Githanga J and Rajab J. Quality parameters of platelet concentrate at Kenyatta National Hospital’s Blood Transfusion Unit. International Journal of Hematological Disorders 1.1 (2014): 35-40. Available online at© Science and Education Publishing DOI:10.12691/ijhd-1-1-7
10. Githang’a J, Hurwitz N. Haematopathology diagnosis: Role of multidisciplinary workshops. Afr J Lab Med 2013;2(1), Art. #82, 3 pages.hhtp://dx.doi: 10.4102/ajlm.v2i1.82
11. Libes JM, Seeley EH, Li M, Axt JR, Pierce J, Correa H, Newton M, Hansen E, Judd A, McDonald H, Caprioli RM, Naranjo A, Huff V, O'Neill JA Jr, Lovvorn HN 3rd; Kenyan Wilms Tumor Consortium. Race disparities in peptide profiles of North American and Kenyan Wilms tumor specimens. J Am Coll Surg. 2014 Apr;218(4):707-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2013.12.044. Epub 2014 Jan 24. PMID:24655859
12. Axt J, Abdallah F, Axt M, Githanga J, Hansen E, Lessan J, Li M, Musimbi J, Mwachiro M, Newton M, Ndung’u J, Njuguna F, Nzioka A, Oruko O, Patel K, Tenge R, Ukoli F, White R, O’Neill Jr. J a, Harold NA, Lovvorn III HN. Wilms tumor survival in Kenya. Journal of Pediatric Surgery (2013) 48: 1254–1262
13. Dimaras H, Dimba EAO, Waweru W, Githanga J, Kimani K. Digital cancer pathology in Africa (Correspondence) Lancet Oncol 2013 14: 289 – 290
14. Molyneux E, Davidson A, Orem J , Hesseling P, Balagadde – Kambugu J, Githanga J, Israels T. Practical recommendations for the management of children with Kaposi sarcoma in resource limited settings. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2013 Apr;60(4):538-42. doi: 10.1002/pbc.24408. Epub 2012 Dec 19.
15. Ngoma T, Adde M, Durosinmi M, Githang’a J, Aken’Ova, Y, Kaijage J, Adeodou, O, Rajab J, Brown BJ, Leoncini L, Naresh K, Raphael M, Hurwitz, N, Scanlan P, Rohatiner A, Venzon D, Magrath I. Treatment of Burkitt lymphoma in equatorial Africa using a simple three-drug combination followed by a salvage regimen for patients with persistent or recurrent disease. Br J Haematol 2012; 158 (6): 749–762 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2141.2012.09236.x. Epub 2012 Jul 30
16. Lenze D, Leoncini L, Hummel M, Volinia S, Liu CG, Amato T, De Falco G, Githanga J, Horn H, Nyagol J, Ott G, Palatini J, Pfreundschuh M, Rogena E, Rosenwald A, Siebert R, Croce CM, Stein H. The different epidemiologic subtypes of Burkitt lymphoma share a homogenous micro RNA profile distinct from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Leukemia. 2011; 25(12):1869-76.
17. Naresh K., Raphael M., Ayers L., Hurwitz N., Calbi V., Rogena E, Sherman O., Ibrahim H., Lazzi S., Mourmouras V., Rince P., Githanga J., Byakika B., Sayed S., Moshi E., Durosinmi M., Olasode BJ., Olayiwola AO., Akenova Y., Bode U., Adde M., Magrath I., Leoncini L. Lymphomas in sub-Saharan Africa – what can we learn and how can we help in improving diagnosis, managing patients and fostering translational research? Br J Haematol 2011, 154(6): 696–703
18. Kitonyi GW, Duncan A, Rajab JA, Githang’a J. Congenital Afibrinogenaemia: A case report; East Afr. Med J. 2010, 87 (2) 81-83
19. Pamnani R, Rajab J, Githang’a J, Kasmani R. Disseminated histoplasmosis diagnosed on bone marrow aspirate cytology: Report of four cases. East Afr. Med J. 2009, 86: S102 – S105.
20. Shiroya-Wandaba, Yuko-Jowi C, Nduati R, Githang’a J, Wamalwa D. Risk factors for cardiac dysfunction in children on treatment for cancer at Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi. East Afr. Med J. 2009, 86: S52 – S57.

21. Lang’o MO, Githang’a J, Yuko-Jowi CA. Prevalence of iron deficiency in children with cyanotic heart disease seen at Kenyatta National Hospital and Mater Hospital, Nairobi. East Afr. Med J. 2009, 86: S47-S51.
22. Kitonyi G, Githang’a JN, Rajab JA, Mwanda WO. Paediatric Thrombosis in Kenya. GW Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2009;7, Supplement 2
23. Kitonyi G.W., Githang’a J.N., Maturi P. Fistulae complicating Burkitt’s lymphoma
Therapy: The challenges. Journal of Hematopathology. 2008:Vol 1:19
24. Maxwell TJ, Ameyaw MM, Pritchard S, Thornton N, Folayan G, Githang'a J, Indalo A, Tariq M, Mobarek A, Evans DA, Ofori-Adjei D, Templeton AR, Mcleod HL. Beta-2 adrenergic receptor genotypes and haplotypes in different ethnic groups. Int J Mol Med. 2005 Oct;16(4):573-80.
25. Ameyaw MM, Regateiro F, Li T, Liu , Tariq M, Mobarek A, Thornton N, Folayan GO, Githang'a J, Indalo A, Ofori-Adjei D, Price-Evans DA, McLeod HL. MDR1 pharmacogenetics: frequency of the C3435T mutation in exon 26 is significantly influenced by ethnicity. Pharmacogenetics: 2001 vol 11(3): 217-221
26. Githang’a J, Dave P. Bone marrow examination at a Paediatric Hospital in Kenya. East Afr. Med. J 2001 (Supplement) p537
27. Morsman, JM, Sludden, J, Ameyaw, M-M, Githang'a, J, Indalo, A, Ofori-Adjei, D., McLeod, H.L. (2000) Evaluation of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase activity in Southwest Asian, Kenyan and Ghanaian populations. Br J Clin Pharm 50:269
28. McLeod, H L., Pritchard S. C., Githang'a J, Indalo A, Ameyaw MM, Powrie RH, Booth L., Collie-Duguid ES. (1999). Ethnic differences in thiopurine methyltransferase pharmacogenetics: evidence for allele specificity in Caucasian and Kenyan subjects. Pharmacogenetics 9: 773-776
29. Githang'a, J. N.(1998). Diagnosis of disseminated alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma using cytogenetics: case report. East Afr. Med. J 1998; 75:724 - 725.
30. McLeod, HL, Syvanen, A-C, Githang'a J, Indalo A, Ismail D, Dewar K, Ulmanen I, Sludden J. (1998) Ethnic differences in catechol-O-methyltransferase pharmacogenetics: frequency of the codon 108/158 low activity allele is lower in Kenyan than Caucasian or Southwest Asian subjects. Pharmacogenetics. 8, 195-199

Book Chapter
Douglas K and Githanga J. Transfusion Medicine. In Synopsis of Hematology Okpala I and Johnson C (Eds). CreateSpace, Charleston, South Carolina, USA. 2010.
Githanga JN. (1989) Chromosomal abnormalities in childhood acute leukaemia at Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya. Dissertation for part fulfillment of Master of Medicine (in Pathology) degree.

Former Chair of Trustees of Kenya Medical Women’s Association,
Board Member of Health Education for Africa Resource Team Trust (HEART).
Founder member and Board member Kenya Childhood Cancer Trust


  • –present
    Prof, Haematology and blood transfusion, University of Nairobi


  • 1989 
    University of Nairobi, Master of Medicine (Pathology)


2015 Continental Lifetime Achiever Award 2015-2016 Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards: Academic Sector for meaningful contribution made in Government Healthcare Sector from by CEO Communications.

  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Article Feed
  • Joined