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School Of Pharmacy

History Of The School Of Pharmacy

The School of Pharmacy started in 1974 when a Presidential decree established a Department of Pharmacy within the Faculty of Medicine, with a mission of training pharmacists at undergraduate and Postgraduate levels.  This was necessitated by the realization that Kenya needed to upgrade her Pharmaceutical education and services to international standards.  Before then, all Kenyan pharmacists were trained outside the country.  This training approach did not allow for training of adequate number of pharmacists to meet our national manpower demands in the public and private sectors.  Thus, pharmaceutical services were run mainly by semi-skilled personnel and foreigners.  


The Department was initially located at the Chiromo Campus and was subsequently relocated to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) campus in1976.  In 1988, it was given additional space in old KNH (formally King George Hospital) wards to accommodate offices and laboratories and this still remains the physical location.


The growth of the department continued to be focused and steady in terms of staff, student numbers, research and community service activities. Thanks to the efforts of Professor Kihumbu Thairu, Dean Medicine, among others, the Department was able to recruit a core of local staff headed by Professor C.K. Maitai who together with an expatriate complement were able to run and develop the Department.

 The need to develop the Department into a Faculty status was raised as early as 17th October 1983 when the first meeting on this issue was held between the staff and the Dean of Medicine, Prof. Nimrod  Bwibo..  This dream was realised twelve years later on 3rd July 1995 when the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Francis Gichaga launched the Faculty of Pharmacy with three constituent departments,

  • Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmacy Practice
  • Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy 
  • In the year 2006, during the rationalization of University functions, the faculty was re-categorised as a school with an elected dean as its administrative and academic head. The school retained its departments. 

    The first batch of students was admitted on 30th September 1974 to pursue a four year Bachelor of Pharmacy (B. Pharm.) degree of the University.   Perhaps one measure of success of the initial period is reflected in the current staff list.  Out of 30 academic staff, more than half are former students of the Department. Currently the School graduates about 60 B. Pharm. students per year. The School also has two Master of Pharmacy Programs specializations in; a) Pharmaceutical Analysis and b) Clinical Pharmacy.


    In addition to training and research, the school offers services through three specialised groups;

    a)      Drug Analysis and Research Unit (General and Contract Analysis, Analytical method development, pharmaceutical quality assurance and good manufacturing practices)

    b)      Mitishamba Drug Research Centre (Toxicology of, and herbal medicines development)

    c)      Pharmacy practice Centre ( General community pharmaceutical care)   

    The current physical facilities for the School of Pharmacy total to about 1975 M2.  It is estimated that the school will in future expand to at least 5012 M2 in order to cope with increasing student population, and also be well equipped for competitive research and consultancy activities