The laboratory is under the division of NPHL, department of laboratory services. It is located within Kenyatta hospital grounds NPHL block B 2nd Floor. Working hours are from 8 to 5 except for weekends and public holidays.


The functions of NTRL as cut out within the Ministry of Health include:

  • To administer and provide oversight of TB Diagnostic Networks in Kenya
  • Carrying out evidence-driven population-based surveillance to determine TB Prevalence in the country through participation in survey protocol development, preparing training Materials for field implementers, training, technical support oversight of sampling and executing testing processes, collating testing data to inform the determination of National TB Prevalence.
  • To coordinate routine laboratory-based TB Surveillance using testing data including rifampicin resistance by Genexpert, Bactec MDR/XDR TB phenotypic culture and molecular characterization, these results are then linked to community intervention including cash transfers to support nutrition components for patients on MDR/XDR-TB treatment regimens
  • Technical coordination of TB Sample referral, testing process and feedback
  • To provide technical leadership in the development or/and review of TB Diagnostic policy guidelines that govern and implement frameworks in conjunction with the National TB Program
  • Development/review of training materials for TB Refresher training for laboratory services delivery personnel at both public, private, NGOs and Faith-based organizations
  • To provide Laboratory Quality assurance services through panel testing to support the accuracy and reliability of results generated by personnel engaged in TB Diagnostic procedures using smear microscopy, fluorescent microscopy, and all WHO-approved rapid diagnostic platforms
  • To provide specialized testing for TB Phenotypic cultures and genotypic characterization for MDR, Pre-XDR and XDR TB through specimen referral networks across the country
  • Carrying out technology verification or/ and validation of new TB testing technologies; as a gatekeeper technical institution appointed by the regulator of in-vitro diagnostics in Kenya for product listing, registration and licensing for marketing and use in Kenya
  • To provide for specimen repository/archival based on Kenya Biosafety Biosecurity guidelines on handling valuable biological materials (VBM) generated during testing and phenotypic TB cultures
  • Carrying out epidemiological and operational research

Manager Profile

Nellie Mukiri is a Medical Laboratory Scientist with over 20 years of experience in medical laboratory testing. She is currently the manager at the National Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory (NTRL) for the last five years. She is efficient at her job and oversees the tuberculosis testing and surveillance network in the country. 

Under her leadership, she has been able to work well with her seniors and partners and through their support was able to accredit the laboratory for ISO 15189:2012 standard for quality management system and 17043 standard for panel testing. 

Laboratory sections

  • Primary section: processing of samples i.e reception, logging into LIMS, decontamination, preparation of smears, inoculation, microscopy
  • Molecular: perform 1st and 2nd line genotypic drug susceptibility testing (DST)
  • Phenotypic DST: Lowenstein Jensen Media (LJ), Mycobacterium Growth Indicator Tube (MGIT), Speciation & Identification of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTB) species, Sub-culture, Decontamination, Loading & offloading of positive and negative slopes from MGIT machine, DST for 1st and 2nd line drugs
  • Media preparation: preparation of media for all sections
  • Culture reading: weekly examination of LJ slopes
  • Waste decontamination: autoclaving of waste, washing of glassware
  • Freezer room: storage of samples and isolates
  • Store: storage of laboratory commodities

Ongoing projects/implementing partners

MINI Prevalence Survey 

Nairobi TB Prevalence Survey – MOH/TBHTP

Research – NTP/NTRL

Test menu

TestWalk-in/Referral serviceFree/chargeableExpected TAT
Gene expertBoth (Walk ins are usually referred)Free3 hours
MicroscopyReferralFree24 hours
Line Probe Assay (LPA)ReferralFree7 days
Culture & DSTReferralFree65 days

List of accreditations/licensure

  • Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians & Technicians Board
  • ISO 15189:2012 standards – KENAS
  • ISO 17043 standards – KENAS

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