The National Microbiology Reference laboratory (NMRL) is a reference laboratory established with the mandate to offer reference microbiology services to ensure quality of results. The laboratory is located on the first floor in the NPHL Block A building.


The mandate of National Microbiology Reference Laboratory includes:

Laboratory based surveillance

The laboratory works closely with public officer to help in early detection of diseases through testing quality of water, food samples and environmental samples

Capacity building

The laboratory offers training and mentorship to county laboratories. It also offers training to students from universities, and other relevant Institutions

Disease outbreak investigations

The laboratory participates in national disease outbreak investigation and works closely with the Division of Disease Surveillance Response (DDSR) unit and Field epidemiology laboratory training program

AMR surveillance

The laboratory acts as a reference laboratory for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) surveillance

Molecular testing

The laboratory also does genomic characterization of organisms

Bacteriology proficiency test (PT) panels production

The laboratory produces and offers PT panels to 40 county and faith-based laboratories under Kenya External Quality Assessment Scheme (KNEQAS)

Specialized diagnostic testing

The laboratory offers phenotypic characterization and Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) testing by use of modern semi -automated equipment and sero- typing

Laboratory sections

  • Clinical: Culture and sensitivity on clinical samples, efficacy test for detergents, environmental swabs,
  • Public health i.e. food and water: Bacteriology analysis of food and water
  • Media preparation: Media preparation of all laboratory processes
  • Quality assurance: Production of Proficiency testing, quality control of new batch of media and reagents
  • Molecular Testing: Genomic characterization of clinical organisms

Test menu

Test Walk-in/Referral service Free/chargeable Cost (if chargeable) Expected TAT 
Bacteriological water analysis Walk-in Chargeable Kshs.2000/- 5 days 
Bacteriological food analysis Walk-in Chargeable Kshs.3500/- 7 days 
Analysis of samples for outbreak responses Referral Free N/A 5 days 
Clinical samples for surveillance activities Referral Free N/A 5 days 
Analysis samples for efficacy Walk-in Chargeable Kshs.1000/- 2 days 
PCR Referral Free N/A 10 days 
Environmental swab Walk-in Chargeable Kshs.1000/- 3 days