Dr. Nelly Mugo is a reproductive health specialist and clinical research scientists. She obtained her clinical training at the University of Nairobi (Kenya) and received her public health training with a major in epidemiology at the University of Washington (USA). She has 30 years of clinical work experience as an obstetrician gynaecologist working in both rural and urban hospitals in Kenya, and 20 years as a clinical research scientist. During her tenure at the Kenyatta National Hospital as a clinical provider, she organized trainings for specialists in colposcopic examination and LEEP for prevention of cervical cancer and sourced for equipment for two referral hospitals. In addition, she founded the hospital research department.
Dr. Mugo set up and leads a clinical trial research clinic, (Partners in Health Research and Development (PHRD)-CCR) in Thika, Kenya with support and collaboration with the University of Washington, International Clinical Research Center. PHRD-CCR research team has a diverse portfolio of research work which encompasses work on sexually transmitted infections, HPV vaccine; contraception and HIV prevention. The research team has been part of multi-site clinical trials, namely the HSV/HIV transmission study and the Partners PrEP study. The Partners PrEP team contributed to scientific evidence on the efficacy of Truvada as HIV PrEP. The Partners Demonstration project, demonstrated ‘near elimination of HIV’ when PrEP is used as a bridge to ART by HIV sero-discordant couples. Through this collaborative work, PHRD-CCR is currently engaged in PrEP scale up with implementation of PrEP to public health facilities Kenya.
Dr. Mugo has been engaged by the National AIDS Control Council, and the National AIDS & STI Control Program (NASCOP) and selected to participate on a National level in various technical working group, including the HIV prevention revolution, the Kenya AIDS Strategic Framework (KASF) 2014/15-2018/19. More recently Dr. Mugo contributed to the PrEP section for the 2016 Kenya HIV ART guidelines and was selected to work with the Ministry of Health, to conduct a baseline evaluation of the ‘Combination Prevention-COMBO’ strategy implementation in three ‘COMBO’ counties. A novel strategy towards ending the HIV epidemic in Kenya. the ‘Combination Prevention”
Dr. Mugo has also contributed to various World Health Organization (WHO) forums and guidelines committee. She co-chaired the WHO Guidelines Committee for Couples HIV Testing and Counseling and Antiretroviral Therapy for Treatment and Prevention in Serodiscordant Couples in 2011 and the WHO Guidelines Advisory Committee for PrEP for Prevention in 2015.
Her research has contributed to the evidence on pregnancy as a risk for HIV acquisition through secondary analysis of data from the Partners in Prevention HSV/HIV Transmission clinical trial. Further evidence on safety of PrEP use in pregnancy through evaluation of the impact of PrEP on pregnancy incidence and outcomes in the Partners PrEP Study.
Dr. Mugo is a member of the ‘Evaluation of Contraceptive and HIV Outcome-ECHO’ research study, a landmark study implemented across 12 sites in 4 countries in Southern and Eastern Africa. She has presented widely in local regional and international conferences and the Thika team is well recognized for work on HIV serodiscordant couples and HIV PrEP. Her research interests include, HIV and cervical cancer prevention, contraception and maternal health.
Dr. Mugo provides mentorship and teaches at various forums for the University of Nairobi (epidemiology) and University of Washington Implementation science Afya Bora fellowship in Global Health leadership. She is has over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals.