Blog

John Birir

Contacts: jbirir@uonbi.ac.ke || jbirir@gmail.com

Education
My name is John Birir and I was born in 1982. I have a certificate in Projects Management (Kenya Institute of Management), Bachelors’ Degree in Mechanical Engineering (First Class Honors, University of Nairobi), Masters’ Degree in Nuclear Science (University of Nairobi). I am currently in the final stages of my PhD in Nuclear Science (University of Nairobi). I also graduated top of my class in both Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.

Work

Complicated Pneumonia in Children

SUSPECT complicated community acquired pneumonia in any child with pneumonia not responding to appropriate antibiotic treatment within 48-72 hrs. Common causative organisms are:- Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus in the post pneumococcal conjugated vaccine era. *Mycobacteria tuberculosis is common in high burden areas. Approximately 20% of pleural infections are undetermined –> molecular testing may be useful.

See: de Benedictis FM, Kerem E, Chang AB, Colin AA, Zar HJ, Bush A. Complicated pneumonia in children. Lancet. 2020 Sep 12;396(10253):786-798. 

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Teaching Pigtail Chest Drain Insertion in the Paediatric Wards

Pigtail chest drains are: i) easy to perform; ii) less painful than soft & hard drains; iii) associated with reduced hospital stay;
and iv) better quality of life.

See: Gammie JS, Banks MC, Fuhrman CR, Pham SM, Griffith BP, Keenan RJ, Luketich JD. The pigtail catheter for pleural drainage: a less invasive alternative to tube thoracostomy. JSLS. 1999 Jan-Mar;3(1):57-61.

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The GM Foods Dilemma

Scientist and lecturer from the University of Nairobi Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, Dr Catherine Kunyanga: Embracing food biotechnology among other numerous agricultural technologies and innovations that are developed to increase agricultural productivity should not be viewed negatively because food insecurity and hunger are a reality in Kenya right now. Adopting GMOs however without addressing other challenges currently facing small scale farmers won't create any significant impact. GMOs are not the immediate solution that Kenyans need to attain food security.

Inspiring the next generation of women in STEM in Africa

To date, women and girls are underrepresented in STEM education at all levels. This is well described in multiple the UNESCO reports. Women scientists have a key role to play in scientific leadership and in contributing to Africa’s development and transformation, but they remain substantially under-represented in higher education and in STEM. A 2021 World Bank report indicates that in sub-Saharan Africa, a large disparity in the number of women in science exists with only 30% of science professionals being women.

The invasive blue tick: A looming threat to Africa’s cattle farming

Tick vectors widely occur in vast regions in Africa. They transmit pathogens causing major tick-borne diseases (TBDs) which cause high mortalities and reduced production in livestock. The diseases area major constraint to profitable livestock production, food and nutrition security and economic well-being of smallholder farmers in many areas in Africa. The invasive blue tick Rhipicephalus microplus is a highly efficient vector of tick fevers caused by the pathogens Babesia bovis, Babesia bigemina, and Anaplasma marginale. This notorious tick is rapidly spreading into many African countries2.

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rmicroplus_brief_may_2021.pdf1.69 MB

Acaricide Resistance among Livestock ticks Infesting Cattle in Africa

In Africa control of ticks and the diseases that they transmit, which pose a major constraint to cattle production on the continent, most importantly in smallholder production systems, is heavily dependent on the use of chemical acaricides. Resistance has evolved to the three classes of acaricide used most extensively in Africa, namely fourth generation synthetic pyrethroids, organophosphates and amidine,s in virtually all countries in which they have been deployed across the globe.

Improving tick-borne diseases control in Kenya: A strategy to incorporate multiple approaches

Every second, an animal dies of a tick-borne disease in Kenya. Ticks and the diseases they spread hinder the profitability of livestock farming in the country, as up to 80% of the animals are affected. Yet, livestock keeping contributes close to 10% of the total value of all goods and services produced every year in Kenya1. These diseases cause financial losses of more than KES 30 billion per year in the country2. All major types of livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats and camels are affected by diseases such as East Coast fever (ECF), babesiosis, anaplasmosis and heartwater3.

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agrifose_kanduma_oct2018.pdf1.26 MB

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