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KNH Going Beyond the Call of Duty on Paediatric Cancer

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Globally, pediatric cancer receives little attention from researchers and health authorities but as a leading health facility not just in Kenya and the East Africa region at large, Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) takes care of cancer cases in children.

The hospital has a department of paediatrics with Dr Irene Nzamu who is the main figure and currently the only Paediatric Haematologist/Oncologist in Kenyatta National Hospital.

She says it’s teamwork and it is exciting to do it for the young ones and with support from colleagues, they are able to give the children the best.
Dr Nzamu is delighted the hospital will be employing more staff in her department next year.

“One thing I am happy about is KNH has advertised to employ two more Haemato-Oncologists and hopefully by early next year, our team will be bigger and we can help even more children,” Dr Nzamu noted.

As indicated by Dr Nzamu, children who seek cancer treatment at KNH have very advanced diseases.

“It is overwhelming, to say the least. The children who find their way to KNH seeking cancer treatment come in with very advanced diseases.”

Being at the centre of it all, Dr Nzamu states that the care goes beyond the social lines because the children have so many needs in terms of care and treatment.

“Interacting with the kids and their families over time, I realized that beyond the socializing aspect, they had so many other needs in terms of treatment and care.

Dr Nzamu adds that: “People don’t know this but children actually understand the concept of death and sometimes they even have a last will or request as a dying wish. Some will tell you I would want to speak to this particular person before I go, or when I die please give my toys to this and this friend….and as a mother, there’s nothing more devastating.”

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Despite the challenges in handling the kids, Dr Nzamu gives her all first as a doctor then as a mother with the necessary love needed to make the young ones feel they are loved and being cared for.


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