Hayati Saifuddin Anjarwalla(Mama)

Hayati Saifuddin Anjarwalla was born in Karachi, Pakistan on 24th August 1937. Her father Hatim Alavi was a great pillar in the Pakistan movement and played a significant role in the formation of Pakistan. He also served as the 6th Mayor of Karachi from 6th May 1938 – 5th May 1939.

Hayati got married to Saifuddin Karim Anjarwalla and thereafter moved to Mombasa to reside with her husband. Saifuddin Anjarwalla was an advocate by profession and founded Anjarwalla and Khanna which today is a leading law firm in the country. Saifuddin Anjarwalla was also a Member of Parliament during the tenure of the Founding President of Kenya the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

After her marriage and migration to Mombasa, Hayati started her social services. The plight of the local mwananchi at that time coupled with a strong family background of serving the needy, gave Hayati a new mission in life. She embarked on this mission and continued passionately on this journey till her demise.

No book can record ALL the charity and social work done by Hayati Anjarwalla and neither will any writer be able to provide justice to the sacrifices made by this lady in trying to improve the standard of living of Kenyans and bringing a smile on the faces of hundreds and thousands.

One of the significant and possible the most remembered legacy that Hayati left behind was the founding of Mkomani Clinic Society.

She formed this Society in 1979 when she saw the need of a decent medical facility in the North Coast. The Mkomani Clinic opened its doors to the public as a small dispensary providing free medical care to the most underserved population of Mombasa.

While Hayati’s intention was to run a clinic with humble operations locally, her good governance, transparency, and impact in creating a positive social change in the lives of the underprivileged quickly drew the attention of international donors and within no time, the International Planned Parenthood Federation developed a family planning program for implementation in Coastal Kenya and Mkomani was awarded the grant to manage the entire program.

In 1982 a second clinic was opened at the Voi Sisal Estate. The two clinics ran with the same principles and Hayati was back and forth traversing the dusty road to Voi several times in a week.

In 1986 a third clinic was set up in Bomu Magongo area in Changamwe. This clinic was named Bomu Clinic. Hayati now managed three clinics. The European Union (EU) was interested in supporting Mkomani and the Bomu Clinic in Changamwe was selected as site where expansion could take place. Thus, the clinics in Mkomani and in Voi had to be given up and Hayati now focused on expanding the set up in Bomu.

The early recognition by the EU allowed Bomu to grow to international standards and soon the Family Health Initiative (FHI) became a major donor running similar programs as the Planned Parenthood Federation at Bomu.

While Bomu managed such large grants, it continued to provide medical care to the underserved at the most reasonable price to the users.

With the advent of HIV the US President’s Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was launched in 15 countries worldwide and Kenya was one of them. Through the USAID Bomu was awarded the grant to run a pioneer HIV program in Kenya. The success of the HIV program brought New York University which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to manage an additional PEPFAR grant.

Bomu’s strategy of providing holistic HIV care as well as past experience of the reproductive health programs rose Bomu once again to an international standard of a Centre of Excellence and Bomu soon became a direct recipient of the PEPFAR funds through CDC to manage the HIV program in the Coast Region. Presently, Bomu provides comprehensive HIV care and treatment to more than 26,000 people living with HIV/AIDS.

While the HIV program continued to grow, Bomu did not lose its focus on primary health care and expanded its clinical services to secondary and then to a tertiary level medical facility. Bomu Medical Centre in Changamwe was soon upgraded to Bomu Hospital – the only non-governmental hospital in Coastal Kenya.

As the programmatic and clinical services at Bomu expanded, a deliberate effort had to be made to retain the set quality. Hayati thus took Bomu through the ISO accreditation process and in the shortest time possible, the hospital achieved its certification. Again, the first healthcare NGO to be accredited.

After four decades, Hayati’s vision remains strong as ever and the medical facilities have now expanded beyond the flagship institution in Changamwe to six medical centres across Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale Counties, five DREAM sites for adolescents and young women, five anchor sites for HIV/AIDS treatment, four vocational training centres, and one independent medical archives unit. Bomu’s outreach programs have now extended to Lamu, Taita Taveta, and Tana River.

Hayati Anjarwalla peacefully departed this world on 22nd September 2021 having achieved what would take generations to achieve. She dedicated her life to the service of humanity and while she has departed to a better dwelling, her voice still echoes in the corridors of the centres and her presence felt in every room where a patient is served.

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