Veteran Aids researcher Mulindi dies of cancer

Thursday, August 8th, 2019 00:00 |
Former National Aids Control Council deputy director Dr Sobbie Mulindi. Leaders eulogised him as a passionate researcher. Photo/FILE

The cancer scourge has reared its ugly head again with the passing on of celebrated HIV/Aids researcher and psychiatrist Dr Sobbie Mulindi.

He served as National Aids Control Council deputy director from 2008 to 2014. He was also a senior lecturer in the psychiatry department at the University of Nairobi.

Mulindi, 70, is the fourth prominent individual to succumb to the disease in just over a month, reviving calls for an urgent action plan to mitigate cancer-related deaths.

Details of the type of cancer Mulindi was battling were not immediately available, as he had kept his illness a private affair.

Leaders eulogised him as a dedicated man whose work  helped reduce HIV prevalence rate from 30 per cent 20 years ago to the current five per cent.

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi said Mulindi’s incredible imprint would indelibly remain etched in the minds of Kenyans. 

“He shall notably be remembered for his tireless fight against HIV/Aids as director of National Aids Control Council (NACC),” he said.

Painful loss

Senate Leader of Minority James Orengo termed the demise of his former schoolmate a painful loss to the country.

“I have learned with sorrow and sadness the passing on of Mulindi. At the Alliance High School, we called him Amalinze the cat. He had passion and energy for the things he pursued, including campaigns against HIV/Aids. Rest in eternal peace,” Orengo wrote on his Twitter account.

Scholar and top HIV/Aids vaccine researcher Prof Omu Anzala recalled his boyhood friend.

 “I don’t even know what to say. Sobbie was everything to me; a good friend and confidant,” he said, adding: “Not only that we shared the same heritage having gone together to Alliance High and the University of Nairobi, but also someone I was so close to during our time as HIV researchers. We agreed, disagreed but that’s what highlighted our friendship.” 

Anzala described Mulindi as a person committed to finding a cure for HIV.

“It is a big loss because of what we shared as professionals and socially. Those are the people you would always want to be close to,” he added.

A number of high-profile Kenyans have died of cancer recently, including Safaricom chief executive officer Bob Collymore, Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso and Kibera MP Ken Okoth. 

The tragedies have led Kenyans and  leaders to ask the government to declare cancer a national disaster in order to consolidate resources to fight the disease. 

Mulindi commenced his higher education at the UoN College of Biological Sciences and completed all his degrees in France. He had a PhD in Clinical Psychology, with distinction.

He boasted 30-year teaching experience, with competencies in both academic teaching and clinical work at the Kenyatta National Hospital and Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Research interests

According to Global News website, his research interests included mental health, behaviour and lifestyles, crisis and disaster management, capacity building and training in multi-disciplinary approach in health.

Mulindi had been actively involved in advocacy and social mobilisation, design and development of strategies to prevent, control and mitigate impacts of HIV/Aids for over three decades reproductive health, road traffic accidents and drug abuse.

He was known for speaking  frankly about the correlation between sex and HIV-Aids, constantly warning youth against unprotected sex.

He chaired several technical committees for the preparation of Sessional Paper No. 4 on HIV and AIDS in Kenya 1997 and wrote “HIV/AIDS Situation Analysis” for the Ministry of Health that facilitated the development of first Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS.

He is also credited with the development of subsequent National Strategic Plans for HIV/AIDS prevention in Kenya and other countries including South Africa, Swaziland, Rwanda, Benin, Somali, Congo and Brazzaville.

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