Dr. Muthini, Oncology Pharmacist, preps treatment at the CMMB-built and supported Phangisile Mtshali Cancer Center in Kitui County, Kenya. (Roy Mwangi for CMMB)

Dr. Muthini’s pursuit of a healthcare career was motivated by personal experience and a deep-rooted desire to make a difference. As an Oncology Pharmacist at the Phangisile Mtshali Cancer Center in Kitui County, Kenya, Dr. Muthini invites us to learn about the journey that led him there—and how he is advocating for health workers like himself.

Reflecting on his high school years, Dr. Muthini recalls his father’s dedication to researching diabetes complications. At the time, he was unaware that his father was struggling with the disease himself. This revelation left lingering questions and a profound sense of purpose. Dr. Muthini propelled himself through school and into the healthcare profession.

At the Phangisile Mtshali Cancer Center, Dr. Muthini brings hope to patients. The center was built and equipped by CMMB Kenya (Catholic Medical Mission Board), alongside Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, and provides innovative care with chemotherapy mixing cabinets, administration chairs, and advanced pathology equipment. In a community where cancer care was once largely unavailable, this center makes a lifesaving difference.

Dr. Muthini knows the inherent risks associated with providing oncology services all too well. From exposure to hazardous chemicals to the emotional toll of patient care, ensuring a safe and supportive environment for health workers is paramount. Through diligent adherence to safety protocols, provision of personal protective equipment, and ongoing training, the center safeguards its staff and supports quality care for patients.

During this World Health Worker Week, the theme “Safe and Supported: Invest in Health Workers” resonates deeply with Dr. Muthini. He emphasizes the importance of strategic investments in healthcare infrastructure, including specialized areas like oncology. From engineering controls that include ventilation systems, containment devices, and other equipment designed to minimize exposure to harmful substances to capacity building initiatives via training, adequate resources are essential for fostering a culture of safety and support within healthcare settings.

Reflecting on innovative health workforce initiatives at the Phangisile Mtshali Cancer Center, Dr. Muthini highlights the importance of continuous education. Weekly sensitization sessions and mentorship programs enhance safety protocols at the hospital and empower staff to deliver compassionate care to patients.

As an advocate for health worker rights, Dr. Muthini encourages policymakers to prioritize investments that support safe work environments and improved patient care.

“Most of these outcomes are majorly achievable through engaging diverse stakeholders in conversation, after which, I believe tangible progress can be realized.” Says Dr. Muthini.

In the future, Dr. Muthini envisions a healthcare landscape where investments in the safety and support of health workers are sustained and prioritized, especially as the burden of cancer continues to increase in countries like Kenya.

As World Health Worker Week comes to a close, Dr. Muthini’s message to policymakers, stakeholders, and the public is clear: investing in the safety and support of health workers is essential for building resilient healthcare systems. By valuing and prioritizing the well-being of health workers, we pave the way for healthier communities and sustainable development outcomes.