Dr Zipporah Ali has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes University.
The award recognises her internationally acclaimed contribution to palliative care in Africa and her continued work mentoring and supporting students on the programs run in collaboration with the faculty of Health and Life Services at Oxford Brookes. She will officially receive this award in June 2013.
Dr Ali studied medicine in Turkey in 1980, returning to Kenya in 1993 to volunteer at Nairobi Hospice. At the same time, she enrolled for a Master's degree at the University of Nairobi.
She attended several courses to further her education, both in Kenya and in the UK. It was on one of these courses that she met Dame Ciceley Saunders.
One of her great achievements during her time at Nairobi Hospice was to convince the medical school at the University of Nairobi to include palliative care training in its undergraduate program.
In 2001, Dr Ali enrolled in a Diploma in Palliative Care, offered by Oxford Brookes University in conjunction with Nairobi Hospice. She graduated in 2002.
Dr Ali started part time for the Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) in 2006, which had not started functioning fully due to lack of funds, despite having been registered in 2005.
“In 2007, I was able to secure funding for the association to start up a secretariat, employ staff and start operating as planned. I was appointed the National Coordinator by the board which meant I had to leave the hospice," said Dr Ali.
Under Dr Ali's leadership, the number of hospices and palliative care providers in Kenya rose from 14 in 2007 to over 40 today.
Dr Maina, former Head of the Department of Non-Communicable Diseases, in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, invited KEHPCA to take the lead role on writing Kenya's national palliative care strategy.
Dr Ali commented that, in collaboration with the Ministries of Medical Services and Public Health and Sanitation, palliative care has successfully been integrated into 11 government level 5 hospitals and integration of palliative care within an additional 30 level 4 hospitals is under way.
On 25 July 2012, Dr Ali accepted the prestigious red ribbon award on behalf of KEHPCA, which was one of ten community-based organizations worldwide that received the prestigious Red Ribbon Award for innovative response to AIDS in a special session of the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012).
ehospice congratulates Dr Ali on the well-deserved recognition of her achievements thus far.
Read an article profiling Dr Ali on the Kenya edition of ehospice.