The National Microbiology Reference laboratory (NMRL) is a public health facility established with the mandate to offer reference testing and to oversee quality assurance programs in microbiology. The laboratory is accredited on ISO 15189:2012 for medical laboratories and ISO 17043:2010 for proficiency test panel production.

Key Functions

  • Laboratory based surveillance of diseases
  • Public health research
  • Training
  • Food safety
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Support supervision
  • Quality assurance including production of Proficiency test panel
  • Disease outbreak investigations
  • Specialized diagnostic testing
  • Formulation of Policy guidelines
  • Inter laboratory networking


 The Clinical section the laboratory analyzes clinical samples which includes cultures for stool, urine, blood, pus swabs among others. Most of these samples are for  outbreaks investigation. The laboratory also participates in antimicrobial resistant (AMR) surveillance. The clinical laboratory is ISO 15189:2012 accredited 

The public health section analyses bacteria in water to ascertain the presence of faucal coliforms. The faucal coliforms are predictors of the occurrence of pathogens such as Vcholerae, Shigella, and Salmonella spp. Food samples are also analyzed for bacterial food poisoning. Some of the food analyzed includes; vegetable salads, milk/milk products, fresh juices, and beer. Environmental sample and efficacy testing disinfectant, detergents, antiseptic soaps and hand sanitizers are also analyzed.

The Quality assurance section assures national quality of the test kits for bacterial pathogens. The NMRL also produces bacteriology proficiency test (PT) panels (such as stool culture). The laboratory provides the panels to 25 county referral laboratories and private hospital laboratories.  The QA/ PT laboratory is based on ISO 17043:2010.

SampleTime after collection to reach the laboratorySize/qtyCost (Ksh)/testTurn Around Time/Days
Water culture