As an IR fellow preparing to transition to faculty I have consistently aspired to support teams invested in sustainable initiatives in Africa. Prior to becoming an IR fellow, I spent months in Rwanda and Malawi. This time, I will be accompanying Dr. Jessica Stewart to Kenya to support fellowship training and streamlining IR services at Kenyatta National Hospital. I will be giving in person lectures as well as assisting Dr. Stewart in teaching procedures which are needed in Kenya. As part of an experienced team I will continue educational efforts and help to optimize patient care from multiple perspectives for the entire interventional radiology team at Kenyatta National Hospital. The team will work with their colleagues there for 2 weeks in February 2023.
The population of Nairobi and surrounding areas benefit greatly from increasing the capacity of Kenyatta National Hospital, the country's major referral hospital, to provide minimally invasive image guided therapies. These treatments are especially helpful in a resource limited region where access to surgical care and recovery support is difficult. This program seeks to educate future interventional radiologists and support the entire IR program to increase the quality and quantity of IR services that can be offered to this patient population. Diseases that we routinely treat with IR such as minimally invasive biopsies, cancer treatments and embolization for hemorrhaging patients are not always available in sub-saharan Africa leading to many early deaths. By improving IR services, we are minimizing mortality and morbidity from unnecessary surgeries.
As part of the combined UCLA-Stanford team I will help provide training to the interventional radiology fellows, radiology residents, and interventional radiology nurses and technologists at Kenyatta National Hospital as part of a longitudinal relationship between colleagues in the United States and in Nairobi. This relationship has been built over the past several years and this visit helps to continue this through in-person collaboration and hands on teaching, helping it continue to flourish. Specifically, this collaboration has helped lead to the initiation of the first interventional radiology fellowship program in Kenya, helping to keep talented physicians in the region to provide specialized services in this underserved area. This educational outreach program helps ensure that their education is robust and continues to develop outstanding interventional radiologists to serve the people of Kenya. By training the physicians, rather than just flying in and doing procedures, we are equipping providers in Kenya to bring cutting-edge medicine to the population all year long.
The Largest Impact was the residents/fellows with whom I was able to exchange knowledge and techniques. I was also able to establish a relationship with the faculty at KNH in order to do a thorough needs assessment for the clinics and training program. We are planning on building a robust exchange pipeline whereby we host trainees for observerships at US hospitals to learn some of the things that they don't yet get hands-on training on. While the simulator (MENTICE) was helpful, nothing compares to in-suite experience. We are also working on another grant to supply portable ultrasound to the clinic for IR. This would save the patient sa great deal of time and money. Currently patients have to pay out-of-pocket for adjunct imaging to make clinical decisions. If they are able to have real-time U/S in clinic, it would facilitate improved patient care and expediency.
Thank you for enabling this trip to happen. This is the first of many trips to Kenya to give the team the opportunity to learn and provide top-notch IR services to patients in Kenya who otherwise wouldn't have such access.