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The Kinshasa Mahidol Oxford Research Unit (KIMORU) study site is a collaboration between MORU and the Kinshasa School of Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) under the auspices of the Congolese Ministry of Health.

Parents and children at a screening at the KIMORU study site, in Kinshasa DR Congo.
Parents and children at a screening at the KIMORU study site, in Kinshasa DR Congo.

KIMORU research unit

The Kinshasa KIMORU research team, in collaboration with other researchers across departments at MORU and SMRU, focuses on Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health, and in particular on malaria. Malaria is the most frequent cause of death in under-fives in DRC and a major cause of maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality in the country. With 84 million people at risk, an estimated 27 million cases and 45,000 attributable deaths yearly, DRC accounts for about 11% of all malaria deaths in children globally.

The KIMORU team conducts clinical trials to evaluate the most effective treatment for uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria in the country, to reduce the burden of malaria in pregnancy and associated perinatal mortality, and to improve the treatment of severe malaria in children. The KIMORU team have also contributed extensively to the success of multinational clinical trials on the efficacy of artemisinin-based combination therapies.

KIMORU also collaborates extensively with the MalariaGen project (Oxford University and Sanger Institute) to produce novel data on the population genetics of P. falciparum and on the haemoglobinopathies and enzyme deficiencies in DRC.

While malaria remains the focus of KIMORU’s work, other research areas include:

  • The prevalence, diagnosis and management of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia;
  • The diagnosis and management of children with non-malarial febrile illnesses to reduce childhood morbidity and mortality; and
  • Hepatitis B in pregnancy.

KIMORU is currently hosted by the Maluku District Hospital, in a rural district of Kinshasa, on the Congo River. Led by Clinical Director Dr Marie Onyamboko and Director Dr Caterina Fanello, the KIMORU team is made up of 22 medical doctors, researchers, nurses, laboratory technicians and logistics staff, all fully trained in Good Clinical Practice and the ethics of human research, with longstanding experience in conducting clinical trials.


Alternative text to the image above for accessibility: KIMORU organisation chart