Video:Kenyan awarded Honorary Doctorate Degree for discovery of Victrelis drug

Dr George Njoroge of Eli Lilly and Company Pharmaceutical company,US, after receiving an Honorary Doctorate in Pharmaceutical Science from Mount Kenya University Chancellor Prof Victoria Wulsin and Dr Edith Wakori, Dean, School of Pharmacy. Photo/HENRY WAHINYA

By the time Dr Frank George Njoroge had concluded telling the story of his turbulent life, the Mount Kenya University graduands, relatives and people from different walks of life were dumbfounded. The pin-drop silence was almost palpable at the graduation square. Glances were exchanged.

Dr Njoroge, in the masterly manner he delivered the message, when the university feted him with a doctorate degree in Pharmaceutical Science, inspired all. The Kenyan-born researcher’s journey was not without its challenges. But with every step of his journey to becomeinga lead researcher in the pursuit of a drug to treat Hepatitis C, Victrelis TM drug, he was more than determined to succeed.

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Whenever he fell, he would rise, dust himself and soldier on, eventually culminating in the discovery of the drug. “The discovery of Victrelis took 16 years of intensive research. The struggle to achieve this invention was the greatest thing that ever happened in my life.The medicine has treated thousands of patients who would have otherwise died from this deadly viral disease,” he says.

“I derive a lot of satisfaction when I read letters from patients expressing their gratitude to our researchers for our discovery of Victrelis. Friends, in life do not give up. If you fall, wake up, shake off the dust and keep on moving,” he said. Dr Njoroge, who was born to a single mother, Alice Nyaucha, who was part of the crowd that turned up to join in the joy of their son being feted, had benefited from a scholarship in graduate studies at Case Western Reserve University, US.

World Hepatitis Day which will be commemorated today, is dedicated to increasing awareness of viral hepatitis and the diseases it causes. This year’s theme encourages people to “Think Again”, meaning to consider viral hepatitis as a silent killer. Hepatitis can lead to liver disease and liver cancer. Knowing ones’ status can help prevent serious problems and stop the spread of disease to others.

Viral hepatitis Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by different viruses, including hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Viral hepatitis affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic liver disease and killing close to 1.4 million people every year. Many people may not know they are infected or at risk of infection.

World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions, such as strengthening prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis and its related diseases; increasing hepatitis B vaccine coverage and integration of the vaccine into national immunisation programmes; and coordinating a global response to viral hepatitis.

By Wahinya Henry

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