Doreen Mutua’s passion for hematology/oncology was triggered during her residency program when she noticed how many cancer patients did not survive their diagnosis. Most patients presented to the tertiary facility with advanced disease that was not only incurable but the resources to diagnose and treat such children were also inadequate. In comparison, survival rates for children with cancer in high-income countries (HIC) average up to 80%. This motivated her passion to change the story of Kenyan children with cancer from one of pain and death to one of hope started.
Dr. Mutua earned her undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in 2005 and 2012 respectively from the University of Nairobi in Nairobi, Kenya. She is a beneficiary of a scholarship that enabled her to continue her training through in pediatric hematology/oncology fellowship from the Jimma University (Ethiopia)/ASLAN project (USA).
Dr. Mutua currently works in Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya where she is a Consultant Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist. She is involved in the care of children with cancer, including blood and solid tumors, as well as blood disorders like sickle cell disease (SCD), nutritional anemia, bleeding disorders, and bone marrow failure syndromes. She is involved in diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and patient review in the inpatient wards and outpatient clinics.
In addition to her focus on pediatric hematology/oncology, Dr. Mutua is also interested in helping improve the quality of life and reducing the morbidity and mortality of children with SCD, the most common hemoglobinopathy in Africa. It has been estimated that as many as 50-90% of children with SCD in Africa will not celebrate their fifth birthday, whereas patients in HIC are able to live to their sixth decade and beyond. She is a proponent of the institution of comprehensive care clinics which provide all services for under one roof in order to improve survival for children with SCD in Kenya.
“To change these inequitable outcomes requires a health systems approach that starts with helping health workers recognize the early warning signs of childhood cancer, establishing diagnostic algorithms, instituting evidence-based protocols, and maintaining cancer registries for data collection. My acceptance to this program will help me attain leadership skills to spearhead a change of health systems in Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital where I work and in my country with the overall goal of improving the survival of children with cancer and SCD in Kenya.”
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya.
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor in Surgery (MBCHB) – University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya (2005)
Masters of Medicine, Pediatrics and Child Health – University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya (2012)
Fellowship, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology – Jimma University (Ethiopia)/ASLAN project (USA), Jimma, Ethiopia (2018)
Hailu D, Fufu Hordofa D, Adam Endalew H, et al. Training pediatric hematologist/oncologists for capacity building in Ethiopia. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 67(12):e28760, 2020.
Patil RK, Irungu A, Kabera B, et al. Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID): A Case Series from a Pediatric hospital in Kenya. Pan African Medical Journal. 39:56, 2021.