Chite Asirwa, MD, Receives Hero Award for Cancer Impact

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AMPATH’s Field Director of Oncology and Hematology, Dr. F. Chite Asirwa, received the Hero Award from Children’s Place International at the organization’s annual Place the Hope gala in Chicago on October 18th.

Dr. Asirwa is a leader and pioneer in the treatment of cancer in adults and children in Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa. Under Dr. Asirwa’s leadership, the number of patients treated at AMPATH’s cancer clinics in western Kenya has grown from 400 patients in 2011 to 10,000 patients in 2017.

In addition to his role at AMPATH, he is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the IU Simon Cancer Center, and visiting faculty at Moi University and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Launched in 2007, Children’s Place International is part of the Children’s Place Association, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization helping children and families overcome health issues and poverty since 1991. Children’s Place International’s mission is to build a secure and hopeful today so children facing health issues and poverty succeed tomorrow.

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Through Children’s Place International’s Healthcare Partners for Access initiative, Dr. Asirwa and the AMPATH team are currently collaborating with a team from Takeda Pharmaceuticals to establish a program to address non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Burkitt lymphoma, a particularly virulent form of pediatric cancer.

Dr. Asirwa was joined by family members and colleagues at the event. “It was a great event and I’m so humbled to be recognized for what I love to do,” he said.

The honor includes an award of $10,000 that Dr. Asirwa intends to use to support cancer survivors with expenses such as school fees or rent as they get back on their feet after treatment. Additionally, Dr. Asirwa reports that an impromptu fundraiser at the event raised $36,000 in less than 30 minutes. “The Children Place International team said that it was the highest amount they’ve ever raised during the award event,” he added.

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Dr. Asirwa also recently participated in a panel discussion on breast and cervical cancers in Africa during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The event was held on October 8 and sponsored by the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) and the African Union.

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