Availability of COVID testing

06 Jul 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is currently at different transmission phases in various countries. Community transmission with exponential increase in COVID-19 cases is still being witnessed in many places including here locally in Kenya. The importance of applying consistent preventive measures to flatten the curve has never been more important. This key message has been repeated severally by the WHO and at the National briefings by the Kenyan Ministry of Health. The role of testing in diagnosing COVID-19 infections is critical since it assists in prompt support to the affected and in contact tracing to break the transmission cycle in the community.

Types of COVID-19 Tests:

  • The RT PCR test is the gold standard for diagnosing the presence of SARSCOV2 virus that causes COVID-19 infections. This involves taking a swab sample from the back of the throat and/or nose.
  • The alternative Covid-19 Antibody testing involves analyzing a blood sample for previous exposure to the said virus and aids in the understanding of virus spread in a community and potential immunity.

Access to COVID-19 Testing:

  • In the past months we have witnessed improvements in the availability and accessibility of both types of COVID-19 tests for UN personnel and their dependents.
  • Whereas we initially only had the National centers offering the RT PCR testing, we now have several private laboratories and Hospitals actively providing the test across Nairobi and in some areas outside Nairobi.
  • The COVID-19 Antibody testing is also now available at the UNON JMS Clinic on walk-in basis between 8am to 4pm (*Mondays:10am -4pm and Fridays: 8am – 10am).

The list of Laboratories and facilities currently undertaking COVID-19 RT PCR testing include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Aga Khan university Hospital.
  • The Nairobi Hospital and its branches (including Warwick Center branch in Gigiri).
  • Pathology Lancet Kenya Limited.
  • M.P. Shah Hospital (including its branch at Village Market).
  • Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
  • National Influenza Laboratory.
  • IOM- International Organization for Migration Laboratory (Newest addition, located at the UN Crescent, off UN Avenue, Gigiri, Nairobi)


The IOM COVID-19 laboratory is located along UN crescent in Nairobi. It is now open to conduct COVID-19 testing from 8am-2.30pm on weekdays on appointment basis. The significance of this new facility is the ability to conduct rapid diagnostic technique for COVID-19 based on the GeneXpert System which leads to same day test results. Preliminary phone-based screening and formal medical referral will be required for the IOM laboratory testing. JMS Clinic will facilitate the screening and referral process. More information about this new testing option can be availed by calling our 24hr JMS number: 0724 255 378.


JMS actively seeks and receives feedback from UN patients and clients regarding their experience when undertaking laboratory testing with external partner facilities.


Some of the challenges expressed in the feedback include delays in sample collection, delays in receiving test results, unexpected or seemingly contradictory repeat results and requests for additional testing. JMS actively engages with the Ministry of Health and private laboratory facilities in exploring the nature of the challenges with the aim of resolving issues raised for the benefit of UN personnel and dependents in line with public health guidelines. The experience of testing and even isolation for COVID-19 is potentially challenging to UN personnel and dependents. For this reason, JMS Staff counseling support has increased significantly and has assisted multiple UN personnel and dependents to get through these challenges.


The JMS Clinic is also available on 24/7 basis to offer medical support and guidance through the cell number 0724 255 378.



Keep Safe and Healthy!

JMS 24/7 emergency call line: Tel: +254 724 255 378 OR

Email: unon-jms-medicalevacuation@un.org  

Staff counseling service: Tel: +254 728 961 939 or + 254 793 484 333

Useful Links: COVID-19 Prevention measures ; WHO- Coping with stress during COVID-19 ;

JMS website ; What to do when illF.A.Q's

Posted on: 06 Jul 2020