Dr Osman Miyanji MD
Chairman, KAWE Board of Directors.
Dr Miyanji is a Senior Consultant in Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology at the Aga Khan University Hospital Nairobi (AKUH-N) and Gertrudes Children’s Hospital (GCH) Nairobi and a part-time lecturer at Aga Khan University.
Dr Miyanji graduated in medicine from Makerere University in 1971 and served in the Kenya Ministry of health, in various positions including Provincial Pediatrician and Consultant. He completed his post graduate training in Pediatrics and Child Health at Kenyatta Hospital, University of Nairobi – M. Med. (Paed.). Thereafter he obtained a Diploma in Neuropsychiatry and a Certificate in Electroencephalography from the University of Vienna, Austria.
In 1982, he was invited to join the founding Board of Directors and serve as a Medical Advisor. He started the first KAWE Epilepsy Clinic in Mathare Valley slum and then mentored Dr Nelly Decker to run it and the subsequent clinics. As the longest serving board member Dr. Miyanji has been involved in Awareness, Training and Treatment of Epilepsy patients registered with KAWE and all the other activities of KAWE. Through his efforts, KAWE has managed to demonstrate with success that an epilepsy programme can be run effectively despite limited resources.
“We have shown that management of Epilepsy at primary level is effective and affordable. Epilepsy can also be managed by non-Neurologists; that is by trained primary health care workers for example Clinical Officers, Nurses and Community Nurses and others.”
The model initiated by KAWE is being replicated in other epilepsy centers in Kenya and outside Kenya.
Dr Miyanji is actively involved in preparation of medical material for trainers/trainees and supervising the awareness campaigns. He plays a vital role in the establishment of affiliated satellite epilepsy clinics around the country.
Other notable endeavors:
He is among the founders of:
- The National Epilepsy Coordination Committee (NECC) in 2010, which is a Committee of all Epilepsy stakeholders in Kenya.
- The Kenya Society of Epilepsy (KSE) in 1997 which is an affiliate of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).
He was involved in organizing the 1st African International Epilepsy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in 2012.
In 2007, he initiated the first multipurpose Child Development Centre for Children with Special Needs at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi.
In the mid 90s, he assisted in the inception and is an advisor of the Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya which continues to be run by parents.
He helped to establish Epilepsy Clinics in both AKHU-N and GCH from the mid 80s.
He played an active role in the preparation of the 1st and 2nd Editions of the Kenya National Guidelines for the Management of Epilepsy.
Dr Miyanji has dedicated over 35 years since 1982 towards improving the quality of life for people with epilepsy.
Mr. Paul Spence
Financial Controller, KAWE Board
Mr Spence was invited to serve on the KAWE Board by Mrs. Caroline Pickering in 1997. His role was to oversee the finance and administration and he has continued to use his experience for KAWE’s benefit ever since.
Mr. Spence is a qualified Chartered Accountant with certified public servicing. He has worked in various financial capacities in the country.
Between 1969-1972 he served as the Group Training Accountant with the Unga Group.Thereafter, from 1973 to 1979 he was Group Management Accountant for Block Hotels and later Group Financial Controller of the holding company, Kulia Investments.
In 1979-1995, he was the Finance and Administration Manager at Total, later becoming the Financial Resources Manager and Company Secretary.
After serving as Board member on the first board of the Retirement Benefits Board Authority. Mr Spence served in a similar capacity between 2002 and 2006 at Central Bank.
“The greatest challenge with Epilepsy is Ignorance. Ignorance causes stigma and thus the widespread myth that Epilepsy is very expensive to treat,” he says, adding that, KAWE fills the need by training people on the ground, who can then train others and create awareness.
He notes that Epilepsy is not a small problem and it is only through intervention that people living with epilepsy can get educated and thereby seek treatment.
“KAWE’s team is small but effective, and that is what is required for an organization that handles donor funded finances.”
Though retired from paid employment, he is glad to volunteer and mentor as a Board Member. In his words:
“It keeps your brain active.”
Other Board memberships: Central Bank of Kenya 2002-2006 Board Chairman of the Audit Committe
Nairobi Hospice vice chairman
Kitisuru Estate Limited
Propertywise Kenya Limited, Audit Committee
Hobbies: Golf, Listening to Classical Music, Mountain Climbing(he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro twice and walked in the Himalayas to the foot of Kanchenjunga)
KAWE Board member
Diana came into KAWE in 2009 at a time that KAWE was going through organisational and donor space changes. Epilepsy was then still a taboo subject and KAWE was having to place a strong foot forward to have it’s voice heard.
She has over 17 years in finance, donor relations, strategy and organization transformation. She along with other members of the staff and the board gave KAWE a facelift by coming up with modalities to institutionalise KAWE to become what it is today. Diana participated in organisational overhaul which has seen KAWE today place itself in global and local health practices.
KAWE needed a fresh approach in finance and strategy and her presence in KAWE not only brought in a female touch to the organization but has also boosted the search for new donors, organizational development and expansion.
A firm believer in the effectiveness of ICT and new media, Diana has been able to tap into resources such as KAWE’s Participation in the Epilepsy Foundation Pipeline Conference Shark Tank competition and was in the team that initiated M-Kifafa to create better linking between KAWE and its various stake holders in the health fraternity.
“Social platforms are especially crucial in this technology era. By creatively packaging our message, KAWE can reach self reliance, thereby reducing over reliance on donors,” she notes and adds, “Our method can also act as a benchmark for other projects that share the KAWE mandate.”
Diana points out that if people can be encouraged to change their lifestyle and learn to take courage as they live with the condition, epilepsy management will have taken a big step in the right direction.
Mr. Samuel Mwaniki
KAWE Board Member
Mr. Mwaniki is a partner at Kinyua,Mwaniki and Wainana Advocates.
A graduate of Nairobi University and Kenya School of Law, he has 20 years experience as an advocate. Apart from training upcoming lawyers, he offers back to the community by acting as a board member in two secondary schools and for KAWE as well.
Mr. Mwaniki’s son experienced febrile convulsions but no longer does so.
This experience motivated him to contribute to KAWE’s activities by serving on the board by providing recommendations on legal matters.
As a call to action to policy makers, Mr. Mwaniki would like to encourage them to allocate more resources towards management of non-communicable Diseases(NCDs).
“While epilepsy may not be as huge as malaria in terms of mortality rates, the stigma associated with it due to ignorance is as significant.”
He believes KAWE has taken big strides in changing the perception of the general public towards epilepsy.
”In dealing with Epilepsy, attitude is just as crucial than even the medication. Knowing and accepting yourself and taking steps to align your lifestyle with the challenges that come to you as person living with epilepsy is an important aspect of developing a positive attitude to the challenge,” and Mr Mwaniki is confident that confident that this is a major step towards this big fight.
Other Board memberships.
Deputy Chair, Njiiri School Board
Board Member, Kigumo Girls Secondary School.
KAWE Board Member.
Mr.Rweria is a Certified Public Accountant with expansive knowledge of Finance, internet banking and budget making strategies. He is a graduate of Nairobi University, B.Ed Arts, Economics and Business, with a Masters in Finance from Kenyatta University. He currently holds a position with Central Bank where he has been in charge of implementation of several projects such as electronic payments, Internet Banking and Training among others, thus he brings to KAWE a wealth of Knowledge and experience.
As a parent, having a son living with Epilepsy, Mr. Rweria has firsthand experience of the associated challenges.
Mr. Rweria was invited to join become a director of KAWE in 1997 as such, he is a strong supporter of efforts done to increase Epilepsy awareness.
In Kenya however, Epilepsy support still has a long way to go. Mr. Rweria highlights the fact that this support is a collective responsibility. The need for qualified personnel, training, special schools and cheaper epilepsy care is crucial in the fight against epilepsy.
Thus,Mr. Rweria has a few principles he lives by:
“Always rely on God.” He urges parents to avoid making their child be an excuse to stop them from getting on with life. “Don’t hide your child; people might not understand your situation unless they know what you are going through.”
Through KAWE, Mr.Rweria is certain that stakeholders, partners, the general public as well as those living with Epilepsy can all find common ground to address the issues involved.
Chuka boys High School Board.
Maurice O K’Anjejo
Secretary, KAWE Board.
Mr K’ Anjejo holds a B. Com (Hons) degree from the University of Nairobi, Accounting Major. He is Corporate Affairs Manager at Total Kenya Limited, in charge of Legal Matters, CSR, Public Relations and Corporate Communications. He has over 20 years experience in Finance Management and General Administration including Human Resource Management.
He offers his expertise in finance as the secretary of the KAWE board. His interest in Epilepsy was sparked when he lost a friend to Epilepsy.