The prevention and management of cancer in Kenya will be improved through a partnership being forged between Kenyatta University Teaching Research and Referral Hospital (KUTRRH), The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester.
The KUTRRH will act as a regional hub for cancer treatment, linking to eleven regional cancer centres across Kenya and to The Christie through telemedicine. Clinical outcomes will be monitored to support innovation and improvement in cancer treatment. The model mirrors the clinical service in Greater Manchester, which has seen cancer outcomes improve faster than anywhere else in the UK.
As part of the new agreement The Christie and Manchester University Foundation Trust will provide training places for current healthcare workforce in Kenya to obtain specialised oncology training and an understanding of how the model for cancer care services works in Greater Manchester.
To mark the launch of the Alliance, The Christie and The University of Manchester will establish two scholarships each, the President Jomo Kenyatta scholarships, to help support Kenyans to undertake a clinical fellowship at The Christie or masters level studies at the University.
In addition to the scholarships, the agreement includes the development of a world-leading cancer research centre at KUTRRH to develop novel personalised therapies for East Africans, plans to create a centre of excellence for health education and training at Kisii University, and a service for squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus, a poorly understood cancer that is common in Kenya.
Professor Chris Harrison, Executive Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive at The Christie, said: “We look forward to sharing our experience and expertise to develop a modern and resilient healthcare workforce equipped to deal with the cancer challenges faced in Kenya. Working with our partners though the Kenya UK Healthcare Alliance we will make a significant difference to the healthcare system through collaboration and the sharing of knowledge around clinical services, research and education.”
The healthcare partnership between Kenya and the UK government was marked with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid and Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Labour Cooperation, Simon Chelugi, also attended by President Kenyatta. 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 treat 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.”
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.