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CHALLENGE FOR MEDICAL FRATERNITY

Bob’s candid talk on battle with cancer to change many lives

Those around him during his last months speak of a man at peace with his time on earth

In Summary

• Bob Collymore's return to work after treatment shows his courageous outlook on life. 

• Few AML patients live beyond three years in the African context. 

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore speaks to the media after an investor briefing on the company's full-year results at its headquarters in Nairobi, May 11, 2016
FALLEN HERO: Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore speaks to the media after an investor briefing on the company's full-year results at its headquarters in Nairobi, May 11, 2016
Image: REUTERS

Early Monday, July 1, Safaricom’s board of directors chairman Richard Ng’ang’a informed the nation of the passing of company CEO Robert William Collymore.

The chief executive’s demise came following a two-year protracted battle Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.

Bob, as he was fondly known by many, will be remembered for his exemplary leadership contribution to the telecommunications industry and to financial technology through Safaricom’s M-Pesa platform that has empowered millions of individuals and thousands of businesses across the country.

But perhaps Bob’s most significant contribution to society will be the awareness he raised on the conversation around cancer through his open and honest discourse about his own personal battle with the disease.

 
 

No doubt the lasting impact of his candid, tell-all interview with Citizen TV’s Jeff Koinange will be felt especially within the medical fraternity as a challenge to do better. Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) starts in the bone marrow but most often it quickly moves into the blood. Patients show symptoms resulting from bone marrow failure, organ infiltration or both.

Bob spoke openly about his own experience.

Few AML patients live beyond three years in our African context due to a number of reasons. This offers a bleak prognosis even for those with access to premier health facilities.

The fact that Bob chose to return to work after his initial course of treatment and kept working until his last moments is a testament to his bravery and his courageous outlook on life.

There is an urgent need to declare cancer a national disaster to allow for the allocation of appropriate resources towards early detection and appropriate intervention.

Founder and CEO, MedLux International