In commemoration of World Environment Day 2018, Aga Khan
University Hospital, Nairobi became the first hospital in Kenya
to officially join environ-mental conservation efforts by
becoming a Corporate Friend of Karura Forest last month.
This forest is the only urban forest
in Nairobi and is managed by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in
conjunction with the Friends of Karura Forest (FKF) Community
The hospital’s membership will
contribute towards maintaining Karura Forest as a safe and
secure green space for the local community.
There are walkways and nature trails
throughout the forest, and is surrounded by an electric fence
with additional security from G4S guards, Kenya Forest Service
rangers and the Association’s security scouts.
In less than ten years, the FKF/KFS
partnership together with other Kenyan corporate and private
donors have helped fence, secure and transform Karura from the
initial dumping site for hijackers and murderers and illegal
private developers into a popular local recreation and
From zero visitors in 2009, the forest
is now welcoming an average of 16,000 visitors a month, 70 per
cent of whom are Kenyan citizens.
To celebrate the hospitals initiation
of the corporate membership with FKF, residents and faculty
doctors from the Department of Medicine of the Aga Khan
University Hospital, Nairobi held a tree-planting team-building
exercise at the Karura Forest which was organised and led by Dr
Dilraj Singh Sokhi, Section Head, Neurology and Consultant
Neurologist at the hospital. Dr Sokhi has been recognised with
the “Be Green Award” at his former place of work for previous
similar initiatives, and explains why environmental conservation
should be a priority for healthcare workers.
“Doctors and other healthcare
professionals the world over are used to treating the sick, but
a large part of health is primary prevention; that is,
addressing the factors that lead to sickness in the first place.
“Most urban cities suffer from heavy
pollution which results in chest problems, headaches, and there
is a global move to improve this situation we have found
“Indeed, during this year’s World
Brain Day the World Federation of Neurology is campaigning for
cleaner air and less pollution to better the lives of urban
dwellers in terms of clearer thinking, better sleep hygiene and
less cognitive side effects of the urban smog.
“Additionally, the healthcare industry
is a significantly carbon-heavy sector in any country, and the
role of healthcare workers to recognise, mitigate and offset
this has been laid out very clearly in the journal The Lancet in
2017, which is one of the most prestigious medical journals in
“As healthcare professionals at Aga
Khan University Hospital here in Nairobi, we are showing our
commitment to environmental matters by joining hands with FKF.
“We hope this can set an example that
other departments, hospitals and organisations can follow as
part of their corporate -social responsibility policy to help
build and maintain green spaces around them”, Dr Sokhi further