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Kenyan Scientist George Njoroge Gets Global Award

Dr. Njoroge says all the credit for his undying devotion to science and finding new cures should go to his late mother, Alice Nyaucha

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George-Njoroge
George Njoroge is a native of Kiambu with over 100 patents for his work in immunology and cancer.

Kenyan scientist George Njoroge was feted with the Pioneer Award for Impact in Science and Medicine in New York. The researcher is also an author and co-author of over 120 scientific publications. His research primarily focuses on finding new drugs and development.

Kenya has produced yet another star, but this time it shines in the scientific field. George Njoroge is a United States-based Kenyan with the Pioneer Award for Impact in Science and Medicine under his belt. He received the award on Sunday, July 14 at the FACE List in New York, an event organized by Face2Face Africa. George is also a senior researcher at Eli Lilly and Merck Research Laboratories’ former Director of Research.

Njoroge received the honor after discovering molecules that could be used in treating a
variety of viral infections. ‘Over the years, I’ve received lots of accolades both here in the USA and other parts of the world. However, I find it quite remarkable to get recognition by an afro-centric organization. This makes me dance joyfully and with exhilaration,’ he said.

Who is George Njoroge?

George Njoroge is a native of Kiambu with over 100 patents for his work in immunology and cancer. He attended Kiawairia and Kamuchege Primary schools before advancing to Thika High School for his secondary education. He received his first-class honors undergraduate degree from the University of Nairobi before joining CASE Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio for a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry.

The 64-year-old says he’s not done despite holding a prestigious position at a global
pharmaceutical company. He wants to move to Naivasha in the next year to be in close proximity with his upcoming biotechnology institute. Njoroge hopes to attract well over 100 doctoral degree holders from all over the world to work in the institute to find a cure for cancer, diabetes, AIDS, and Malaria.

Dr-Njoroge
Dr. Njoroge, second from left, receives honorary doctorate from Mount Kenya University.

After accepting the Face2Face Africa Award, Njoroge said, ‘Africa has to step up the plate and get involved by participating in the global scientific platform, we cannot afford to be left behind. The African content has great brains and an abundance of resources. We only need to embrace the power that comes with biotechnology.’

Other Awards

However, this was not the first time the scientist was on a podium receiving an honorary
award, in 2017, he became the first African scientist to earn 100 patents from the American Patent and Trade Office. This honor also came after the scientist found a
treatment capable of curing some viral diseases. Mount Kenya University also saw
Njoroge’s ability through his research and awarded him an honorary Doctor of
Pharmacy degree back in 2014.

At Merck Research Laboratories, George conducted the research that paved the way for the discovery of Victrelis. Victrelis is the first ever oral drug for Hepatitis C. A US media outlet was quoted saying, ‘Victrelis was approved by the FDA in 2011 and is currently on sale in more than 45 countries worldwide, with over $1 billion in sales. The discovery earned the scientist a coveted 2012 Hero of Chemistry honor, which was awarded to him by the American Chemical Society, which is the largest scientific society in the world.’

With chronic hepatitis currently affecting over 3 million Americans and between 130 and 170 million others around the globe, Dr. Njoroge’s findings are immense. The drug has
already been approved in 43 countries and is currently on sale in 23 of said countries.

Credits

Dr. Njoroge says all the credit for his undying devotion to science and finding new cures should go to his late mother, Alice Nyaucha. She was a practitioner of herbal medicine and inspired his love for science since he was a little boy. The researcher is married to Ester Nyambura, and the couple has two children both pursuing medical degrees.

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Kenya Leads a Movement to End FGM by 2023

Kenya Fighting to End Female Genital Mutilation by 2023

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FGM
Despite Kenya banning female genital mutilation (FGM) in 2011, the tradition of circumcising girls has continued in some ethnic communities. (Representational Image). Wikimedia Commons

By Rael Ombuor

Despite Kenya banning female genital mutilation in 2011, the tradition of circumcising girls has continued in some ethnic communities. President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to end FGM by 2023, but activists say more needs to be done as millions of girls are still at risk of undergoing the cut.

At just seven years old, Sylvia Keis’ family told her she would be circumcised.

One day before the ceremony, Keis ran away from her home village of Ewaso Ngiro to the town of Narok — a three-hour walk.

FGM
A Masai girl holds a protest sign during the anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) run in Kilgoris, Kenya, April 21, 2007. VOA

“I just decided I better ran away even if I was going to die, because I had that emotion,” Keis said. “My father never took me to school and now he wants to circumcise me. After circumcision and you are not in school, what next? You will get married. I said I better ran away, whether I will get help or not.”

The Tasaru Girls Rescue Center gave Keis the shelter and support to avoid circumcision and stay in school.

The center’s 63-year-old founder, Agnes Pareiyo, has helped more than 1,000 girls escape genital mutilation since 1999.

Her mission to protect girls is a personal one, as her family put her through FGM when she was 14 years old.

“Because of what I went through, nobody could tell me that FGM was good,” Pareiyo said. “I did not know other effects, but I knew the pain I went through, the bleeding the whole day and nobody cared, they kept talking.”

Activists: Community, family support needed 

FGM
A man shows the logo of a T-shirt that reads “Stop the Cut” referring to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) during a social event advocating against harmful practices such as FGM at the Imbirikani Girls High School in Imbirikani, Kenya. VOA

Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but some ethnic groups like the Masai still see it as a traditional rite of womanhood before marriage.

The United Nations says one in five Kenyan women between 15 and 49 years old have been circumcised.

Activists say more needs to be done to reach the U.N. goal to end FGM worldwide by 2030.

“It is estimated that around 200 million girls in the world alive today have undergone one form of FGM or another globally,” said Anne Njuguna, Plan International’s Regional Disaster and Risk Management Specialist. “It is further estimated that 15 million more girls will undergo FGM by 2030, and these girls are between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. This is a huge number that we cannot allow to happen.”

Activists say more community and family support is needed to end FGM in Kenya.

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After final high school exams this year, Keis plans to return home for the first time in 11 years to reconcile with the family that tried to circumcise her.

She wants to share with them her dream of becoming a doctor, and show everyone in the village that girls should not be cut and are instead better off in school. (VOA)