Jean Gitau, 36

Head of Biological Threat Reduction Programme

Ministry of Health

After the Covid-19 pandemic, biological security has become a priority for governments across the world.

Jean heads the country’s unit mandated to ensure Kenya is prepared for any biological threats.

“Every day when I wake up, I make sure that Kenya is safe from biological threats,” she says, noting that the research programme operates under Global Health Security (GHS) at the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Representatives on the programme are drawn from government ministries, departments and agencies in charge of security, health, defence, wildlife, environment, education, research and livestock.

"Nothing comes has to work hard and stay focused, while building the networks needed to open doors."

Before coming back to the country to serve in government, she had a stint at the World Health Organisation as an apprentice.

“At SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan where I did my Master’s, they would attach you to an international organisation, so instead of doing a thesis as is the norm in other universities, you would do a project,” she says of her Master’s in Global Health Diplomacy.

She holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Nairobi and a Diploma in Business Information Technology from Strathmore University.

Nothing comes easy, she maintains, and that one has to work hard and stay focused, while building the networks needed to open doors.

“Global security touches on almost all arms of health; port health, laboratory services, medical service delivery. So it’s the networks I have with people that enable me to stay current on information and advance myself,” she says.

Lynet Igadwah