Angela is one of the two rheumatologists in East and Central Africa treating children.
Optimistic about finding solutions for problems afflicting children with diseases such as lupus, arthritis, or autoimmune illnesses that cause pain and stiffness in joints, muscles, and bones, she is a trailblazer in a field that few Kenyans have dared to venture.
In Africa, there are only 15 doctors in the field of rheumatology. She was the first black woman in sub-Saharan Africa to be a paediatric rheumatologist.
“Many assume that ordinary rheumatologists can also treat children, which is not the case. Furthermore, the discipline is also not considered as lucrative as other medical specialties.”
"“Many assume that ordinary rheumatologists can also treat children, which is not the case. Furthermore, the discipline is also not considered as lucrative as other medical specialties.”"
She says inadequate funding to support training in paediatric rheumatology and poor access to training centres also contribute to its low exploration.
She diagnoses and treats newborns through to 18 years of age with autoimmune disorders, including juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus, myositis, scleroderma, psoriasis, Behcet’s disease, and various vasculitides such as Kawasaki disease as well as non-specific pain of the muscles or bones.
Did she always want to treat children? The honesty of children sparked the interest.
“If you’d asked me what I wanted to be while in medical training, I would have told you an expert treating adults with cancer. During my internship, I realised that adults were not straightforward. I found children are really honest. What you see is what you get. When you get their diagnosis right you see it and when you don’t you just see it. I ended up choosing to specialise in treating children purely for their honesty.”
She has a Master’s degree in Paediatrics and Child Health from Aga Khan University Hospital and a Bachelor’s in Medicine from the University of Nairobi. She also attended the University of Ghent, Belgium for her PhD Candidate Health Sciences and she is a Fellow of Paediatric Rheumatology at the McGill University, Montreal Children’s Hospital. She is also an Assistant Professor at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Kenya.
She wears many hats; She is the President of the Paediatric Society of the African League Against Rheumatism, Assistant Professor Aga Khan University-EA, National Vice-Chair The Kenya Paediatric Association, and Alumni Breakthrough Mastery Leadership.
Her collaborations with global paediatric associations dealing with children and adolescents read like a record-breaking entry.