Nairobi Hospital scoops global award for free cancer treatment programme

A section of the Nairobi Hospital. [Standard,file]

The Nairobi Hospital has bagged a prestigious global award for its free cancer treatment programme that has saved the lives of thousands of cancer patients in the country and beyond.

The hospital received the Seddiqi Holding Excellence Award for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) during the 46th World Hospital Congress held in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this week.

The award is in recognition of the Glivec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP) for cancer patients, which the hospital has been running since 2004 in partnership with other local and international healthcare organisations.

The GIPAP program provides free drugs for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST), two rare and often fatal forms of cancer.

The drugs, which are expensive and not easily accessible in many developing countries, are donated by Novartis Pharmaceutical and distributed by Axios International.

The Nairobi Hospital coordinates the program in Kenya and also offers other support services such as diagnosis, monitoring, counselling, and follow-up.

In a statement to newsrooms, the Nairobi Hospital CEO James Nyamongo said that the award was a historic first for Kenya and Africa and dedicated it to the thousands of cancer warriors who have benefited from the GIPAP program.

“To have the Nairobi Hospital recognised globally for what it is doing for our cancer patients is a great honour. I am deeply grateful to our medical team led by Prof Othieno-Abinya who have inspired and supported this program over the years,” said Nyamongo.

He added that the free cancer treatment program has the capacity to drive social change by increasing accessibility and equity in cancer care in Kenya and even beyond.

“In a very special way, I thank our team of medical oncologists for the exemplary work that they are doing under this program. So far, over 2,000 patients have received free cancer treatment with about 150 of them being attended to every week at The Nairobi Hospital,” the hospital’s boss said while announcing that the program is available in over 80 developing countries worldwide where over 60,000 patients have benefited.

Cancer remains a leading killer among those aged 50-59 in Kenya, accounting for 12.7 per cent of the deaths. The disease kills more females than males at 9.3 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively.

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