Research department

SWAP’s Research Department

Since March 2007, SWAP’s research department has been engaged in various research studies on public health in collaboration with local and international research partners. The research has been conducted in different counties of Western Kenya where there is high burden of disease. The main aim of the research department is to evaluate the health and economic impact of public health interventions, technologies and products. The department has an efficient pool of researchers that have technical expertise and experience in conducting baselines, surveillance, evaluations and feasibility studies. Through partnership and collaboration with various organizations, SWAP has published close to 70 studies in peer reviewed international journals. These research findings have been instrumental in informing policies and implementation models worldwide. Internally, the research department has been helpful in modeling of implementation and evaluation of intervention impact. Research findings have been disseminated to the County Department of Health and Education, SWAP employees and the beneficiary communities through a community feedback mechanism. SWAP projects and interventions have been continuously adjusted based on evidence to keep up with the changing trends and community needs. SWAP now outsources its research activities to various research partners. The water lab has become an essential asset to provide evidence through testing water, waste water, products, technologies and WASH interventions. SWAP has diversified its research with studies on WASH and Waste Management, Infection Prevention and Control, Early Childhood Development, Clean Energy Cook Stoves, SATO Pan, Maternal and Child Health, Menstrual Hygiene Management, Neglected tropical diseases, Cholera, COVID-19 and Malaria Waste Water Based Epidemiology among others.


Achieving sustained early child development impacts at scale
This research project involves a total of 1320 Kenyan mothers or other primary caretakers and their children aged 6-18 months from 66 total villages located across 3 sub counties in Kisumu and Vihiga County. The study experimentally tests the relative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of two different delivery models for an ECD responsive parenting intervention. Delivery agents will be trained community health volunteers. The study is in collaboration with the University of Southern California and the National Early Childhood Network, County Department of Health, National Government Administration and Community Health Promoters. Census and baseline surveys are completed and following training implementation is ongoing.
Household Stored Drinking Water Quality study in Mugruk
This study addresses bacterial contamination of water intended for drinking in homes in Mugruk, where we established the Solar Powered Water Disinfection Unit.
The household stored drinking water quality study is implemented by SWAP in collaboration with University of Illinois at Chicago and Jaramogi Odinga Oginga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST).
Monitoring morbidity, evaluation and reduction of intestinal schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminthiasis.
It’s a 5-year study supported by CDC whose focus is to determine schistosomiasis-associated liver morbidity and markers for monitoring and evaluation of morbidity, and a level of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) that correlates with more effective reduction in prevalence after mass drug administration (MDA) in a schistosomiasis (SCH) and soil-transmitted helminthiasis (STH) control program in endemic areas of western Kenya. The study has both cross sectional and longitudinal designs.
Enhanced Preparedness and Response to communicable diseases in Kenya SWAP continued with the production, distribution and monitoring of Alcohol Based Hand Rub (ABHR) in all the 47 public Health Care Facilities (HCF) in Nyando and Nyakach Sub Counties. During the intervention period, a total of 5,522 liters of ABHR was produced in the SWAP lab and 2,760 liters was distributed to the health facilities. Through community hotspot mapping, a total of 59 high-traffic locations were identified and continuous supply of WASH supplies maintained throughout the study intervention period. SWAP got approval from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to produce liquid soap and since then the production and distribution is going on. The study is in collaboration with Washington State University. Building Blocks for Positive Community Health
STEMA is a UK based research group promoting sustainability, health and wellbeing in low resource settings worldwide through community led research and action The study aims to develop a tool kit and approaches that will bring the science of decision-making to the field of global health. This is being done through local community engagement in three regions in Kenya including Siaya County which represents rural settings, Nakuru County which represents an urban setting, and Baringo County which represents pastoral community. SWAP is the implementing partner in Siaya County. Through mathematical modeling, STEMA is building a system to support decision-makers in identifying the most effective health interventions. The study has accomplished two stages have been accomplished and dissemination of findings is planned for 2024.
Chlorine Generation at Healthcare Facilities
The STREAM Chlorine Generator provides a continuous flow of chlorine solution from common salt and electricity. The chlorine-based solution generated by the STREAM chlorine generators complies with national and international guidelines for disinfecting surfaces, medical devices, and instruments. In  2021. installation following training was done  of the  STREAM generators at 7 health care facilities in Kisumu County. The facilities have been producing up to 1,000 litres per month and distribute as well to other facilities. SWAP continued to give technical support, collects data and monitors distribution and use. Ongoing research continued to determine whether chlorine production in health care facilities using the STREAM generator is feasible and practical. The chlorine production has been essential during the recent cholera outbreak.
In 2024 in collaboration with Washington State University, CDC and PATH SWAP will support the installation and training as well as ongoing monitoring of use and distribution of two additional STREAM Chlorine Generators at Health Care Facilities in Migori County, an area which was recently affected by the cholera outbreak.
WASH Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) in HCF’s This is a pilot study bringing together epidemiology and ethnographic research on Infection Prevention and Control in Health Care Facilities in Nyando and Nyakach Sub Counties. This study is done in collaboration with Durham University and Washington States University. Baseline data was collected in 4 health facilities.  Introduction meetings to Kisumu County and Nyando and Nyakach Sub Counties Health Management meetings were done before the pilot. We conducted a workshop with IPC focal persons, In-charges of 4 health facilities and public health officers to share experiences and identify and prioritize gaps which needs addressing. Covid-19 Waste Water Based Epidemiological and field Study.
This study is in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago and entails the surveillance and prevalence of COVID-19 disease through the monitoring, testing by viral RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) extraction and amplification of the detected SARS-COV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome of Corona Virus Type 2) viral particles by qPCR (Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction) followed by subsequent genomic sequencing at the USAMRU/ Walter Reed Medical Institute. The target testing sites include hospitals, market centers, public transport sections, wastewater treatment plants and any other highly regarded hotspot area with the major sample type being waste water. Following this waste water based surveillance study was started with a PHD candidate from the University of Illinois. Intercept interviews were done of toilet users at Kisumu main bus station and Kibuye Market to access knowledge, perception and attitude.
Malaria Waste Water Based Epidemiology. SWAP was contracted by KEMRI Center for Global Health Research in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to support a malaria waste water based epidemiology study. SWAP participated in the sample collection of over 100 waste water samples at Busia County Hospital and Amakura Sub County Hospital and did the RNA extraction before returning samples to the KEMRI lab for subsequent molecular assays. Some of SWAP Research Staffs