Manchester partnership to oversee Kenyan cancer care revolution

The healthcare partnership between Kenya and the UK government has been strengthened through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The MoU, signed at the Royal College of Physicians by Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid David and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Labour Cooperation, Simon Chelugi, was also attended by President Kenyatta.

As part of the agreement, prevention and management of cancer in Kenya will be improved through a partnership between Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital (KUTRRH) and the University of Manchester/The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

This will see the promotion of KUTRRH as a regional hub for cancer treatment, linking to eleven regional cancer centres across Kenya and The Christie hospital through telemedicine. It will also monitor clinical outcomes to support innovation and improvement in cancer treatment.

The hub and spoke model will mirror the clinical service in Greater Manchester, which has seen cancer outcomes improve faster than anywhere else in the UK.

The Alliance’s first grant application, which is submitted to National Institute for Health Research, seeks to establish such a service for squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus, a poorly understood cancer that is common in Kenya.

They also propose the development of a world-leading cancer research centre at KUTRRH to develop novel personalised therapies for East Africans. And they will help create a centre of excellence for health education and training at Kisii University using modern educational and pedagogical approaches to train nurses, doctors and pharmacists.

The Christie and Manchester University Foundation Trust will also provide training places for current healthcare workforce to obtain specialised oncology training and an understanding of how the hub and spoke model for cancer care services works in Greater Manchester.

To mark the launch of the Alliance, The University of Manchester and The Christie will establish two scholarships each, the President Jomo Kenyatta scholarships to help support Kenyans to undertake Masters level studies at the University or a clinical fellowship at The Christie.

The collaboration with Kenya follows the naming of The University of Manchester in April as the world’s best university for action on sustainable development in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings.

The University topped the table of more than 1,200 universities from around the world on action taken towards the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Professor Graham Lord, Vice-President and Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health at The University of Manchester said: “Not only do we strive for research and teaching excellence like all universities but we also have a third and unique goal around social responsibility. We want to see our research and teaching make a difference, locally in Manchester, nationally in the UK and internationally.

“It is now time for us to build on this success and take on bigger challenges and leading and successfully delivering the Kenya UK Healthcare Alliance is one of these challenges, as we seek to make a difference to the healthcare system of an important strategic ally to the UK through clinical services, research and education.

“So as an institution with long standing links with Kenya, we look forward to working with the country to developing a modern and resilient healthcare workforce capable of dealing with the rising tide of all forms of non-communicable diseases in the country.”

The President’s visit to the UK delivers on the Strategic Partnership between the two countries, agreed by President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Boris Johnson in January 2020.

Jane Marriott, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, said: “Our Health Partnership with Kenya is 30 years old and growing stronger by the month. This new agreement on health workers allows us to share skills and expertise even further, and is a fantastic opportunity for Kenyans to work in the UK.

“From COVID-19 vaccines and genomic sequencing, to exchanges on cancer research and treatment to help Kenya treatment more cancer patients at home, the UK has a long and proud history of support for Kenya’s health sector. The signing of the Kenya-UK Health Alliance is the latest chapter in our flourishing partnership.”

Images:

  • Two imges of President Jomo Kenyatta with the British delegation from last year
  • This year’s ceremony from left to right Professor Graham Lord (first), President Jomo Kenyatta (second ), Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Labour Cooperation, Simon Chelugi (third), Health Secretary Sajid Javid (fourth) and Professor Keith Brennan (fifth)
  • Professor Graham Lord chatting to Health Secretary Sajid Javid and President Jomo Kenyatta

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