AMPATH receives $1 million gift for new chronic disease center in Kenya

February 5, 2015

In conjunction with World Cancer Day, Eli Lilly and Co. will commit $1 million to AMPATH in Eldoret, Kenya.

The funding, provided by the Lilly Foundation, will help equip a new oncology center, hire additional staff and train local health care professionals -- ultimately allowing AMPATH to screen, treat and provide palliative care to more people, many of whom lack access to quality health services.

The Lilly Endowment gift will help equip the oncology center at AMPATH’s new four-story Chandaria Cancer and Chronic Diseases Center.

AMPATH, the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare, was created in response to the HIV crisis in Western Kenya in 2001. It is built on a partnership with Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and the Moi University School of Medicine in Eldoret, Kenya, and a consortium of North American academic health centers, led by IU.

AMPATH has continually expanded its successful HIV approach to include more diseases, including diabetes, hypertension and cancer. It now provides healthcare services to a population of 3.5 million in Western Kenya.

As an extension of this work, the AMPATH Oncology Institute was launched in 2009—with a single physician and nurse. Public-private partnerships have allowed the institute to expand its staff and services to a current team that includes 10 clinicians, six core nurses and an oncology pharmacist. The institute received nearly 10,000 patient visits last year and screened more than 10,000 women for breast cancer and 20,000 women for cervical cancer. But demand far outstrips supply: the institute is one of only two cancer centers in Kenya, meaning that nearly half of the country’s 42 million people must rely on the AMPATH Oncology Institute for screening and care.

Much of this screening and care is provided in substandard facilities -- including a tent. That will change with the opening of AMPATH’s new four-story Chandaria Cancer and Chronic Diseases Center later this year.

The center will open its doors later this year. Prior to the centers' construction, screening and care is provided in substandard facilities—including a tent.

The Lilly Foundation’s funding will help equip the center's new oncology outpatient center and allow for the hiring of additional doctors, physicians’ assistants and other staff to screen and treat more people. Additionally, the funding will support the creation of a research and training institute focused on cancer prevention, screening, treatment and supportive care. The institute will help build much-needed capacity among local healthcare providers.

The $1 million commitment will be paid out over four years, from 2015-2018. This new funding builds on a longstanding partnership between Lilly and AMPATH. Since 2002, Lilly has donated nearly $60 million in medicines to AMPATH to improve health for people with diabetes, mental illness and cancer. You can learn more about this ongoing partnership through this short video.

“AMPATH continues to demonstrate that it is possible to provide quality care and services -- even in the toughest settings, for people in great need,” said Sue Mahony, Ph.D., senior vice president and president, Lilly Oncology. “We are honored to further our collaboration with AMPATH and be part of this growing oncology effort. It’s exciting to be able to make a meaningful difference for people in Kenya today, while finding new ways to help more people tomorrow.”

In addition to the $1 million in funding, AMPATH and Lilly are exploring opportunities for Lilly employees to participate in skills-based volunteer assignments in conjunction with the AMPATH Oncology Institute.

“To me, one of the most important words for this partnership is rafiki, meaning ‘friend’ in Swahili,” said Pat Loehrer, M.D., director of the IU Simon Cancer Center and co-founder of the AMPATH Oncology Institute. “All successes in AMPATH and AMPATH Oncology stem from belief in an authentic international partnership, based on committed friendship and trust, that serves cancer patients wherever they live.”