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Kenyatta University Takes Lead in Building Capacity for Treatment of Drug Abuse in Kenya and beyond

By Beatrice Kathungu


October 2022

Kenyatta University (KU) has become the first university in the country and in the East African Region to offer a fully-fledged specialized postgraduate program, dedicated purely to building capacity for treatment of substance use disorders. This is in recognition of the challenge posed by Alcohol and drug abuse in Kenya and the region, and in line with KU’s philosophy of sensitivity and responsiveness to societal needs and the right of every person to knowledge.

Photo of two african American Females speaking at Kenyatta University Class
KU Faculty, Dr. Beatrice Kathungu & Dr. Fransciscah Ongecha leading a discussion to explore ways in which African Universities can share and resource build on developing and implementing academic programs on Drug demand reduction during the ISSUP/NACADA/AU/ICUDDR conference held at KUCC Nairobi


The Postgraduate Diploma in Addiction Treatment Science is the result of a partnership between KU (Department of Psychology) and Colombo Plan – Drug Advisory Plan (DAP), with funding support from INL of the US State Department. The program aims at building capacity of service providers working or interested in working in fields with clients with drug use problems.

The Course is an intensive one year program comprising of course work, mini project and an elaborate practicum internship in a drug treatment related field. It targets those with a first degree and working in the fields of Primary health care e.g. Doctors, Nurses, Clinical officers, Pharmacists; Mental health care specialists e.g. Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Counselors, Social workers and allied fields; Drug treatment centers’ workforce, and any person interested in working in the field of Substance Use Disorders treatment.

Graduates of the program will have an increased capacity to effectively treat clients with Substance Use Disorders (SUD), based on the latest knowledge, skills and competences from an evidence based perspective, anchored on a globally recognized curriculum .In addition, they will become eligible to undertake the International Certification of Addiction Professionals (ICAP) examinations for SUD treatment professionals recognized at both local and global level.

Photo of Kenyatta University Faculty
Dr. Beatrice Kathungu, Kenyatta University faculty and ICUDDR Africa coordinator (fourth left) poses for a photo with ICUDDR Executive director Dr Kevin Mulvey (far left) and Carly Searcy, ICUDDR Project manager (far right) following a collaborative presentation on strategies to bring science into education and practice (addiction studies) supported by ICUDDR at the International Society for Addiction Medicine (ISAM conference in Valletta, Malta October 222. Also pictured: Dr. Fran Calvo, University of Barcelona Spain (second left), Dr Prapapun Chucharoen, Mahidol University, ICUDDR Regional Coordinator Asia-Pacific (third left), Hoang Huy Vu, MD, MPH, Sr Public Health Advisor, CDC Vietnam (fourth right ) and other participants at the conference.

The Program which was launched in May 2019 has become a pacesetter and a model for the African region, attracting interest from the African Union (AU), the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the International Consortium of Universities for Drug Demand Reduction (ICUDDR).The university hopes to partner with the national and county governments, as well as relevant organizations to build capacity of their staff to address the drug abuse challenge affecting the country.

The Program is offered by the Department of Psychology through different modes including; Full-time, Part time evening, Continuing Education Program (CEP) and Digital and Virtual mode (DSVOL). Applications are ongoing. For more information visit: OR send an email to: or Tel: 0208703522.

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