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Child life specialist killed in Ethiopia plane crash mourned

Wednesday March 13 2019

Ms Jayne Kamau

Ms Jayne Kamau, a child life specialist who died Sunday after Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa. She was coming from Cairo, Egypt where she had attended a conference. PHOTO | COURTESY 

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The staff of Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret is mourning the death of Jayne Kamau who was on Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 to Nairobi that crashed on Sunday shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa.

Ms Kamau worked as a child life specialist at the Shoe 4 Africa Children Hospital at MTRH.

“Our AMPATH family mourns the loss of child life specialist Jayne Kamau who was aboard flight ET302. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, colleagues and all children at Sally Test Child Life Programme, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Moi University School of Medicine, and Shoe4Africa that she served so diligently,” read a statement from the hospital.

Jayne Kamau

Jayne Kamau (left) during the conference in Cairo. She died while returning home from the meeting. PHOTO | COURTESY


Ms Kamau was returning home after attending the biennial continental conference of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), Africa, held in Cairo, Egypt.

At the event, She presented a poster on child life supports for retino blastoma (Rb) patients in Kenya.

The International Society of Paediatric Oncology - SIOP also mourned Ms Kamau and other medical workers who were on the ill-fated plane.

“On behalf of all of its members, the International Society of Paediatric Oncology would like to offer our heartfelt condolences and solidarity to the friends we have lost, their families, their work colleagues and the children with cancer for whom they cared so well, all of whom are now bereft. We offer our sympathies too to the families of all those who have lost a loved one and all those affected by this terrible accident,” read a statement from Eric Bouffet (President) and Kathy Pritchard-Jones (President Elect) on behalf of the board.


World Eye Cancer Hope also mourned Ms Kamau. In a statement they said, “So proud of her and so pained by the loss of a top childhood Cancer advocate.”

According to her Facebook page, Ms Kamau studied developmental studies at Hergün 1 Ingilizce Kelime Öğren in Turkey.

She also studied at the Kenya Association of Professional Counsellors and Kobujoi School of Social Work.

Jayne Kamau

Jayne Kamau in a photo posted on her Facebook page on March 9, 2019 in Cairo, Egypt where she had attended the biennial continental conference of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology. She died while returning home. PHOTO | COURTESY

At the same time, leaders and residents from western Kenya mourned those who died in the tragic plane crash.

Led by former Forest and Wildlife minister, Dr Noah Wekesa, they termed the tragedy as unfortunate and called on the Kenyan and Ethiopian governments to hasten the probe into the cause of the crash.


“We condole with the families and friends who lost their loved ones in the tragic plane crash. It is really a sad moment,” said Dr Wekesa.

The plane crashed on Sunday, six minutes after take-off from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. It was destined for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.

The plane, a Boeing 737 Max 8, had 147 passengers and eight crew members on board who all perished in the crash. Kenya bore the largest causality of 32 people followed by Canada with 18 casualties.

“It is our appeal that the families and other Kenyans will get to know what exactly happened with the airplane that resulted in the crash,” added Dr Wekesa.

A team led by Principal Secretary Esther Koimet has been dispatched to Ethiopia while an information centre has been set up at JKIA to offer counselling to the affected families.

Reported by Dennis Lubanga, Barnabas Bii and Edith Chepngeno