Dr. Johansen Oduor: Education And Career Profile Of Kenya’s Chief Pathologist

Dr Johansen Oduor is Kenya’s chief government pathologist, a title he has held since September 2013.

As the head of the government’s forensic pathology services, he leads other pathologists and forensic experts in investigating deaths that are sudden, unexpected, or suspicious. He also provides expert evidence in court cases involving death.

Oduor has conducted autopsies on a wide range of cases, including homicides, suicides, and natural deaths. He has also provided expert evidence in court in many high-profile cases.

WoK takes a closer look at his educational background and career.

Magoha’s student

Oduor holds a bachelor of science degree in medicine from the University of Nairobi which he completed in 2000.

At UON, his favorite lecturer was the late Prof. George Magoha, whom Oduor described as approachable.

“ Life as a medical school student can be challenging, and you need the support of a good lecturer like Mr. Magoha,” Oduor told Standard in a past interview.

Magoha taught Surgery, which was Oduor’s favorite unit.

As a medical student, Odor had to interact with cadavers. His first encounter with the dead was during his first year when his lecturer divided the class into groups of six and presented cadavers that they would be examining for the next six years.

Oduor was so scared of such close contact with a corpse that he considered switching courses. He narrated how nightmares accompanied him after this remarkable milestone that marks every medical student’s journey.

He soon overcame his fear and even worked as a mortuary attendant at Chiromo Mortuary during holidays, where he made his first coin as a campus student.

While speaking to The Standard, Oduor recalled his first and last years as an undergraduate student as the most eventful.

Throughout campus, he never engaged in romantic relationships.

However, he was a devout party animal and could often be found partying in clubs during weekends. His favorites were Visions Club along Kimathi Street and Zigzag in Hurlingam.

After graduating in 2000, he worked for a while before enrolling for a master’s in pathology and Forensic medicine at Nairobi University between 2004 to 2008.

He then proceeded to Witwatersrand University in South Africa to pursue a diploma in forensic medicine, majoring in forensic pathology.

In 2013, he replaced Dr. Moses Njue as Kenya’s chief pathologist. In 2016, he was elected president of the African Society of Forensic Medicine.

Unlike his predecessor, Oduor has managed to avoid controversy throughout his career. One of his latest achievements was conducting autopsies on the exhumed bodies of Shakahola victims.

He was also a key player in investigating the murder of former treasury official Tom Osinde, revealing his cause of death as blows to the head.

Earlier this year, he was appointed by Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja as the new chairperson of the Nairobi Funeral Home (city mortuary), a term he will hold for three years.

According to the Ministry of Health, Kenya has an acute shortage of forensic pathologists like Johansen Oduor even as the need for forensic services rises in the wake of mass casualty incidences.

According to The Star, the country has about 150 practicing pathologists against a population of 47 million people.