On April 4, 2022, the Vice Chancellor officially launched the Advancing Public Health Research in Eastern Africa through Data Science Training (APHREA-DST) project at the University of Nairobi (UoN) in the presence of UoN management, stakeholders, academicians, and researchers.  The event was held at the University of Nairobi Towers in Nairobi, Kenya. 

In his opening remarks, the UoN Vice Chancellor, Professor Stephen Kiama noted that "there has been an unprecedented abundance of increasingly complex and voluminous data across many domains of health and as such data scientists are faced with the task of not only collecting data, but more so, playing a transformative role in exploiting the big data revolution in order to address the multi-pronged health challenges bedeviling sub-Saharan Africa."

The National Institutes of Health is investing about $74.5 million over five years to advance data science, catalyze innovation, and spur health discoveries across Africa. Under its new Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) program, the NIH announced 19 awards to research partners in the U.S. and globally, including one to support a project led by scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

The initiative will be carried out in collaboration with the Data Science Institute and Department of Statistics at Columbia University, Schools of Public Health and Information Science at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and the Schools of Public Health and School of Mathematics at University of Nairobi in Kenya. The Columbia Global Center in Nairobi will serve as a regional hub for key grant-related activities.

The Vice Chancellor congratulated the three principal investigators, namely, Prof. Kiros Berhane, Columbia University; Prof. Patrick Weke, University of Nairobi; and Prof. Rahel Bekele, Addis Ababa University and the other co-investigators for winning a grant totaling to US$1,749,838 out of which US$499,931 is allocated to the University of Nairobi for the next 5 years.