Kenya will open the first cancer only hospital for children in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County in the next two years.
It will be the only one of its kind in Africa, the only other one being South Africa where it serves both children and adults.
The 162-bed Juli Anne Perry Pediatric Cancer Hospital will be located at the Shoe4Africa wing of the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret and will have wards, outpatient clinics, ICU and theaters for comprehensive cancer treatment.
Shoe4Africa, the sponsors, began as a sporting charity before diversifying into health and education. The groundbreaking ceremony for the hospital named after the late wife of one of Shoe4Africa benefactors, was held in December 24, last year.
The Shoe4Africa wing has been operating its 153 bed facility at MTRH, most times at full capacity with patients reporting from other counties and even neighbouring countries.
Among the patients at the Shoe4Africa Wing is 13 year old Brian Kiplang’at whose left leg was amputated at the Tenwek Mission Hospital, after developing a blood clot. The teenager from Chepalungu in Bomet County was later referred to MTRH in Eldoret for specialised care. But further medical examinations revealed he had cancer of the blood - leukemia.
It was while struggling to battle the two ailments that the Standard Eight candidate met a team of psychologists at the Shoe4Africa wing at MTRH.
“Having had his leg amputated at such a tender age, my son lost hope and was bored. He isolated and kept to himself. But with regular reviews and encouragement from medics, he can now afford a smile,” says his mother Beatrice Kirui, as he watches him walk in crutches, playing with other children.
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Apart from chemotherapy procedures, Kiplang’at undertakes revision at the unit despite the draining treatment. The Shoe4Africa wing has been a relief to children battling various ailments but Dr Polycarp Mandi, the director, said although the unit handles all ailments, majority of patients suffer from cancer and its usually 100 percent full.
“Shoe4Africa, is self-sufficient, providing multi-specialty services to pediatrics,” explained Dr Mandi, a paediatric gastrologist adding that “pediatric cancer has become a major problem.”