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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.
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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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Girls In Kenya Use Vapor Technology To Quench Their Thirsts

Community members, having seen the devices in use at the school, hope to acquire some of their own if they can find the funding.

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Kenya, girls
Turkana people carry water near Lodwar, in Turkana County, Kenya. VOA

In this arid part of northern Kenya, water can be hard to find, particularly in the dry season.

But a center run by the Samburu Girls Foundation – which rescues girls facing early marriage and female genital mutilation – has a new high-tech source of it.

Since June, the center, which has rescued more than 1,200 girls, has used panels that catch water vapor in the air and condense it to supply their drinking water.

“We used to have difficulties in accessing water and during a drought we could either go to the river to fetch water or ask our neighbors to give us water,” said Jecinta Lerle, a pupil and vice president of students at the center’s school.

water, girls
The Skysource/Skywater Alliance co-founders David Hertz, right, and his wife Laura Doss-Hertz demonstrate how the Skywater 300 turns air into water, in Los Angeles. VOA

But now, officials at the school say, the girls no longer have to travel for water – including into communities they have left, which could put them at risk.

“The girls can now have more time to study since there is enough fresh water to go round and there is no need to walk long distances to search for water,” said Lotan Salapei, the foundation’s head of partnerships.

Girls formerly trekked up to five kilometers a day in search of clean water during particularly dry periods, sometimes bringing them into contact with members of their former community, Salapei said.

The center, given 40 of the water vapor-condensing panels by the company that builds them, now creates about 400 liters of clean water each day, enough to provide all the drinking water the center needs.

Girls in Kenya
A girl at the Samburu Girls Foundation center in Loosuk, Kenya, drinks from a fountain that draws its water from solar-powered panels that condense water vapor from the air. VOA

The “hydropanels,” produced by U.S.-based technology company Zero Mass Water, pull water vapor from the air and condense it into a reservoir.

Cody Friesen, Zero Mass Water’s founder and chief executive officer, said the company’s project with the Samburu Girls Foundation was an example of its efforts to make sure the technology “is accessible to people across the socioeconomic spectrum.”

The panels provided to the Samburu Girls Foundation cost about $1,500 each, foundation officials said.

Zero Mass Water has so far sold or donated the panels in 16 countries, including South Africa.

Hydropanels, girls
The “hydropanels,” produced by U.S.-based technology company Zero Mass Water.

Saving trees

George Sirro, a solar engineer with Solatrend Ltd., a Nairobi-based solar equipment company, said such devices can be a huge help not only to people but in slowing deforestation that is driving climate change and worsening drought in Kenya.

Often people with inadequate water cut trees to boil the water they do find to make it safe, he said, driving deforestation.

Also Read: California Couple Develops Way That Allows To Make Water From Air

Philip Lerno a senior chief in Loosuk, where the girls’ foundation is located, said he hopes to see the panels more widely used in the surrounding community, which usually experiences long dry periods each year.

He said community members, having seen the devices in use at the school, hope to acquire some of their own if they can find the funding. (VOA)