For the past 25 years, thousands of anxious parents and caregivers have traveled the rolling green highlands on the edge of the Great Rift Valley to the town of Kijabe, Kenya, seeking one thing: life-changing surgery for a child they love.
Kijabe is home to AIC-CURE Children’s Hospital of Kenya (CURE Kenya), established in 1998 as Kenya’s only orthopedic teaching hospital and the first hospital in CURE’s network, which serves children suffering from life-limiting disabilities.
On 17 November 2023, CURE Kenya held a silver jubilee celebration to highlight the hospital’s many extraordinary successes and the lives that have been transformed physically and spiritually since it opened 25 years ago.
The celebration marked the official opening of the hospital’s 21-bed ward addition and 14-bed long-stay hostel, designed to provide even more children with short- and long-term recovery areas.
According to CURE Kenya Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Mbugua, “There is a great need for our medical services, so we are thankful to serve 33 percent more children each year because of this expansion.”
A Quarter Century of Transforming Lives
Dr. Scott and Sally Harrison opened CURE Kenya in 1998 in partnership with the African Inland Church, which provided the land for the hospital and has been a strong champion of CURE’s mission to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God.
Recognizing that no single organization could reach the millions of children with treatable disabilities in the world, the Harrisons committed to making every CURE hospital a teaching hospital. To this day, CURE trains national medical workers and surgeons to be the next generation of healthcare professionals in their countries.
And because training disciples of Jesus was equally as important as equipping surgeons, the Harrisons established that CURE’s emphasis on spiritual care would be just as important as the emphasis on medical care.
Throughout the years, CURE Kenya has launched important initiatives to ensure patients and their families receive the help they need by making care more accessible—all while ministering to patients’ physical and spiritual needs.
In 2006, Dr. Joseph Theuri, CURE Kenya’s medical director, created CURE Clubfoot in Kenya to eliminate clubfoot as a lifelong disability in the country. In 2019, the initiative became an independent nonprofit called Clubfoot Care for Kenya (CCK), which works in partnership with CURE Kenya and Hope Walks to raise awareness about the importance of early treatment, how to treat it, and where to find qualified medical providers.
“My dream is to have no children going past the age of two years with severe clubfoot because we have taken care of it,” said Dr. Evelyn.
“It’s almost impossible to measure the life-changing impact CURE Kenya has had on children with disabilities and their families over the past 25 years,” said CURE International’s president/CEO, Justin Narducci. “Every day, the hardworking surgeons, nurses, and other support staff help children reach their dreams by restoring their mobility and freeing them of life-limiting conditions.”
Over CURE Kenya’s 25-year history, our world-class doctors have performed almost 48,000 surgical procedures. CURE’s generous supporters around the world have made this possible!
Dr. Evelyn emphasizes the ripple effect of every surgery. “Every time you do a surgery, that changes a child’s life,” she said. “What touches me the most is that it’s not just for the child. It means the parent who was going to stay home and take care of that child can now go out and earn a living to help the family.”
And CURE Kenya’s impact only continues to grow.
Training the Next Generation
In the spirit of Scott and Sally Harrison’s vision for CURE, the hospital in Kenya is committed to training the next generation of healthcare workers—a mission that began early with the hospital’s first full-time medical director, Dr. Tim Mead. He quickly realized Kenya had no orthopedic training program and only a handful of orthopedic surgeons to serve the country’s 30 million residents.
So, Dr. Tim identified and trained local surgeons, eventually sending them to neighboring countries to specialize in orthopedic surgery. He was also a pioneer in establishing a formal residency and fellowship training program at CURE Kenya, a regional training base accredited by the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).
As a result of that program, 24 additional orthopedic surgeons now provide care throughout Africa—including in Malawi, Zambia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Niger, and Kenya. Of the 24 orthopedic surgeons across CURE’s network, 40 percent have been trained by Dr. Tim or graduated from the program he helped found. The program has also yielded orthopedic training centers throughout Kenya, multiplying and strengthening the country’s healthcare system to treat more children limited by treatable disabilities.
Dr. Tim’s first trainee was Dr. Theuri, now CURE Kenya’s medical director, who joined CURE immediately after his medical internship in Kijabe in January 1998.
“Training is key to my heart,” Dr. Tim said. “Training multiplies, and the impact on a country is much greater.”
CURE Kenya dedicated one side of the renovated children’s ward in honor of Dr. Tim and Jana Mead, and the other in honor of Reverend Jeremiah and Dr. Christine Kithome, CURE Kenya’s first and second spiritual directors.
Building the Future
In addition to the new patient ward and long-stay hostel, CURE Kenya has multiple capital projects underway to help better serve the children and families in our care for the next 25 years and beyond.
A solar system upgrade is moving into the construction phase to reduce utility costs and provide the hospital with more stable, clean, and consistent power.
And during the jubilee celebration, CURE President/CEO Justin Narducci and Lari member of parliament, Hon. Mburu Kahangara, laid the foundation stone for the hospital’s new surgical center.
The space will allow CURE Kenya to treat more patients, helping us reach our goal of providing specialized, life-transforming care to 3,000 children in Kenya each year.
The lives of thousands of children have been transformed through treatment at CURE Kenya in the past 25 years—and there are countless others who can look forward to freedom from life-limiting disabilities in the years to come.
CURE is grateful to the Mead, Harrison, and Theuri families, the CURE staff who have been with us from the beginning, and to CURE’s generous donors/partners who made this possible and continue to support our future plans to help even more kids find healing.