JMS Update: New Information on COVID-19 testing

We would like to update you on a new significant development regarding COVID-19 testing capacity for UN personnel and dependents in Kenya.

This positive development involves the expansion of testing access for UN personnel and dependents from the currently available hospitals and Laboratories to include  dedicated COVID-19 testing

by IOM under a recently signed ‘First Line of defense agreement’ (FLoD) for eligible Agencies, Funds and Programmes.


  • In July 2020, a specific strategy was adopted to ensure that United Nations personnel could continue working  where they are needed in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • IOM and the UN Department of Operation Support signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the provision of health services consequential to the evolving COVID19 pandemic.
  • This collaborative framework was called the “First Line of Defense” (FLoD), and was designed to ensure that eligible UN personnel & dependents would have access to

high-quality, reliable health services in contexts where health-care systems may be overwhelmed.

  • As a result of this agreement, UN duty stations in various countries will now receive support based on a needs assessment related to local COVID-19 response capacity.

Depending on the identified needs, IOM will provide services ranging from laboratory testing for COVID-19 to Tele-health and monitoring of UN personnel and dependents under isolation for COVID-19.

  • The IOM country-specific agreement has now been signed by the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi for UN in Kenya, under the terms and conditions set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations, Department of Operational Support, and IOM, for the Provision of Health Services Consequential to COVID-19 (13 July 2020)

What does this mean for UN personnel and dependents in Kenya?

  • In Kenya, IOM will now provide accessible & timely COVID-19 testing capacity for eligible personnel and dependents with a new financial arrangement.

Unlike in the past ,COVID-19 testing will now not require upfront payment at source in the following instances:

  1. For persons with suspected COVID-19 symptoms who require the test to confirm or exclude COVID-19 infection.
  2. For persons with no COVID-19 symptoms, but who have recently been in contact with individuals confirmed to have COVID-19 infection.
  3. For persons under quarantine following travel who require the test as part of public health screening.
  • The cost of COVID-19 testing related to above categories will now be covered by a centralized UN fund managed under the FLoD agreement.
  • IOM has prepared Standard operating procedures, Pre- test consent forms and client information packages to assist eligible UN personnel and dependents in making informed decisions.
  • The referral for COVID-19 testing will be undertaken by the UNON Joint Medical service and will involve close liaison with IOM and the UN personnel(or dependents) to receive the testing requests,

share pre-testing information and arrange for referral emails to facilitate appointments & timely testing.

  • Notably, the type of COVID-19  testing undertaken by the IOM Laboratory in Gigiri has not changed. The standard diagnostic swab test (SARSCOV2 – RT PCR) will still be carried out on referral basis

with an expected  24hr turnaround for the test results.

  • IOM has undertaken to facilitate the required COVID-19 testing in line with its reputable standards and protocols which emphasize professionalism, confidentiality and data protection principles.

Under what circumstances will payment still be required for COVID-19 testing at the IOM Laboratory?

  • In certain instances, upfront payment for COVID-19 testing at source will still be required for UN personnel and dependents.
  • These situations include instances where COVID-19 testing is required for travel purposes or any other administrative purpose not linked to suspected COVID-19 infection or exposure to the same.
  • IOM will provide access to payment in such instances though a mobile money platform arrangement (M-PESA) as has been the case in the past.

How do I know if I am eligible to undertake the COVID-19 test under the FLoD framework?

  • The list of eligible Agencies, Funds and Programmes is available with UNON and IOM. This is an extensive, comprehensive list which covers members of the UN Country team with over 70 UN offices.

Any queries on eligibility can be directed to your Agency focal point or to the IOM and JMS Contacts shared below.

What Should I expect after COVID-19 testing?

  • The test results will be communicated to the UN personnel or dependent concerned and also to the UNON Joint Medical service for any necessary follow-up.
  • In the event that the COVID-19 test is positive, arrangements will be made for necessary isolation, referral, and medical support though the existing UNON JMS structures and SOP’s.

Further information:

You can find more information on the FLoD framework  and IOM COVID-19 testing from the following sources:

  1. By contacting UNON  JMS on the following contacts: 24hr Cell No: 0724 255 378 , 24hr Email:
  2. By accessing information from the following links: IOM COVID-19 Laboratory contacts ; General Information- IOM FLoD services ; IOM Nairobi- FLoD testing procedures

IOM FLod testing- Consent Form


 Keep Safe and Healthy!

Additional contacts: Staff counseling service: Tel: +254 728 961 939 or + 254 793 484 333