Meet Kenya's first female radiopharmacist, Dr Elizabeth Itotia

Outstanding accolade confirmed by Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya, wants more women to join the field.

At the age of 29, Dr Elizabeth Itotia, has become the first female radiopharmaceutical scientist in Kenya, an accomplishment confirmed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya. A radiopharmaceutical scientist, often known as a nuclear pharmacist or radio pharmacist, is primarily responsible for the safe and effective preparation of radioactive drugs. These drugs are used for the diagnosis and treatments of various diseases, mainly cancer and their use require significant personnel training in patient safety and equipment handling. A key component in healthcare, yet there are a limited number of radio pharmacists on the continent with only two in Kenya. Dr Itotia is one of them being the first female radio pharmacist in what is known to be a male dominated industry, marking a noteworthy milestone in Kenyan history.

Dr Itotia was the valedictorian of the University of Nairobi class of 2017. Afterwards, she secured a fully sponsored masters scholarship from the International Atomic Energy Agency to continue studies in South Africa. The adversities she endured during her time in SA, including being far away from home, failed to prevent the ambitious young woman from pursuing her educational goals. During her stint in the country, she was able to observe first-hand the positive impact of public comprehensive cancer care on patient outcomes in SA. "I feel really proud being the first female in the field. It shows that if given a chance, women can equally shine in any field," said Dr Itotia. Dr Itotia currently works as a pharmacist in the Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital.