Moi University’s Dr Kirtika Patel has been feted by the prestigious United Kingdom-based Imperial College London.
Dr Patel becomes the second allergist in the country. Imperial College London is one of the top universities specialising in allergy research.
Dr Patel, who is also the head of immunology at the Moi University School of Medicine, told Nation that she will continue doing research and creating awareness on the condition in Kenya.
“I feel privileged to have had this opportunity, I hope to use the skills to serve the people of Kenya,” Dr Patel said.
“Due to the support of Moi University and my family, I was able juggle course work and research with full time job. I’m grateful to the Lord,” said Dr Patel.
Kenya now has only two allergy specialists. The other one is Dr Bowry Priya Sikand who is in private practice.
“Emerging research shows that food and airborne allergies are on the rise in Africa and are often misdiagnosed,” she added.
Dr Patel said that there is need for more research and awareness in these conditions due to the growing demand by patients.
“The government needs to include allergies in the policy and fellowship programmes to train health professionals,” she observed.
Dr Patel, who earned her PhD from Moi University in 2009, teaches immunology among undergraduate and postgraduate students in the School of Medicine, Dentistry, Public Health and Nursing departments.
She also teaches the HND Oncology programme at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH).
She has previously attracted the fourth Annual General VC research funding (2006) to work on oesophageal cancer, one of the topmost non-HIV related cancers in men in the region.
She attracted funding from National Council Science Technology that guided the prognosis and treatment for women with breast cancer.
This initiated an Immunohistochemistry diagnostic laboratory for various cancers at MTRH.
She has received NIH funding for cancer diagnosis in children with Burkett’s Lymphoma and Wilms tumour (kidney cancer) and another one for determination of HIV viral load using mobile phone technology.
She is the patron for Beyond Science Initiative Moi University chapter that provides social and scholarly platforms for outreach initiatives.