By Jon Niconchuk
Since its inception over a century ago, AIC Kijabe Hospital has transformed into a national (and even international) center of clinical excellence. And yet the mission of the hospital does not end with clinical excellence alone. As the institution has matured, its goals have expanded beyond care delivery to care systems development and medical education. Over the course of our time here we have worked alongside medicine residents, obstetric residents, general surgery residents, neurosurgery residents, plastic surgery residents, and anesthesia residents and fellows from not only Kenya, but all of Africa (including Cameroon, Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Gabon, and Rwanda just to name a few) – training at Kijabe and planning to return to either their county or country equipped to provide high quality care.
By Tara Lane
I am finishing up my first week rotating at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka, Zambia. I have been participating on the ID consult service, and it is amazing how much I have learned over the past four days. The ID team has been very welcoming, and I am grateful for their teaching and patience, especially as I learn a new system.
By Monica Polcz
As I reflect during my final days in Kijabe, I realize that this experience has both solidified my confidence in what I know and also highlighted areas that I am continuing to learn. On my first day in clinic, between 5 clinic rooms, we saw 150 patients. The variation in pathology extended the entire breadth of general surgery, most of which I had seen before.
By Jon Niconchuk
Jambo from Kenya! After barely escaping a rare Nashville snow storm and back to back 8 hour flights, we arrived safely in Nairobi (well, two of the three of us at least; our final companion missed a connection and made it the next morning.) Despite having been here once before, the drive down the hill into Kijabe was just as breathtaking. This idyllic oasis, this “place of the wind” nestled on the mountainside overlooking the ever-widening Great Rift Valley, remains as aesthetically beautiful as ever. With our comfortable guest house and nightly dinners waiting in the fridge, it is easy to lose sight of the reality of ever-present scarcity that exists all around. Yet as familiar faces welcomed me back to the operating theaters on Monday morning, I was reminded why AIC Kijabe Hospital – built from nothing over the past century – remains such a remarkable place. On our second morning in the ORs, one of the surgeons approached us hurriedly and said, “Dr. Jon, please go to the emergency ward, there has been a mass casualty.”
By Monica Polcz
A couple of months before I arrived in Kenya, my home institution switched their electronic medical record from Starpanel to Epic. To give a little background, I knew Starpanel. I was efficient at Starpanel. Starpanel was my friend, and Epic was an outsider. I found myself very clever in deeming the transition an "Epic" fail to anyone who would listen weeks before its rollout. Subsequently, on transition day, I felt unsurprised at the almost apocalyptic scene and hospital-wide confusion that ensued. It felt as if I didn't know how to do anything on this new system, but I found some satisfaction in blaming the yellow-vest wearing support team, or "yellow jackets" as we colloquially called them, as well as Epic itself for hindering the efficiency of patient care. It certainly wasn't my fault. I was already halfway through residency and I was efficient. I was confident!
Beth O’Connell became a Frist Global Health Leader in 2010, completing an internship in rural Rwanda for her Bachelor of Public Health. She received the award again in 2013 for an internship in rural Guatemala for her MPH. Today, Beth has earned a DrPH and works as an Assistant Professor in Public and Community Health at Liberty University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate public health courses, while continuing to serve and conduct research to improve health in low-resource communities both domestically and globally.
By Ryan Van Nostrand
This week was an interesting week. During clinic days there were a number of good ultrasound teaching cases including a DVT US which was positive. There was a unique opportunity to go the regional hospital in Linden which is a mining town and more resource poor in terms of medical care.
By Jamie Robinson
The last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind. From the moment I saw the sign with my name held by the friendliest driver I’ve ever had at the airport in Nairobi all I have seen are smiles. Every person I have encountered has been nothing but kind and welcoming.
As women, sometimes we can be consumed with the needs of all the people right before us in our homes and communities. Yet, there is a longing in each of us to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We experience empathy and concern for others, our neighbors, both near and far.
The past month taking care of patients, teaching, and learning from my colleagues in the Accident and Emergency Department at the Georgetown Public Hospital in Guyana has been a wonderful experience, as always. I have learned a great deal, and I have also had the opportunity to teach in a variety of settings, which has been very gratifying. I never leave here not in awe of the great work these physicians do with the limited resources they have available. I also rarely leave without a memory of some patient that we were not able to help as much as I would have liked due to these limitations.

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