NAIROBI– The University of Nairobi has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Chinese company, Cherami Investment Group, to establish a Cancer Research Institute in Nairobi which is envisaged to become a hub for teaching, diagnosis and treatment centre of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa.

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Education Amina Mohammed, who officiated during the signing of the MoU here Monday, said the centre would help to address some of the pressing health challenges in the country and the region at large.

She said Ministry of Health records indicated that cancer is now the third leading cause of deaths in Kenya, accounting for 7.0 per centof the total deaths, after infectious and cardiovascular diseases, and she was happy that the university and Cherami Africa Limited were collaborating in the project at zero financial exposure to the university.

Amina voiced the need for the health authorities to create more awareness about the nature and causes of cancer to Kenyans in rural areas. She said her Ministry would work with the Ministry of Health to develop a legislative framework to support local universities establish and operate medical training facilities.

UoN Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Mbithi said the Cancer Institute would be a multi-functional facility offering modern and outstanding teaching, training and research facilities for cancer health-care.

The centre, which will be within the University of Nairobi system, will offer holistic patient-centred cancer services, provide research and innovations and raise awareness about cancer. It will work in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop a comprehensive National Cancer Registry to ensure an efficient and systematic utilization of resources.

The President of Cherami Africa, WeiXiaolin, said the company is a subsidiary of Guangzhou Cherami Investment Management Group, an Africa-centric integrated financial services group. The company had brought the best of Asian technology, knowledge, and funds to meet the most socially impactful demands in Africa, he added.