Hiro Sparks, MD
Hiro Sparks, MD
Radiology · Los Angeles, CA

UCLA IR and University of Nairobi Collaboration

April 13th
Nairobi, Kenya

Project Description

As part of a collaborative effort with Rad-Aid International and the University of Nairobi, interventional radiology faculty volunteers have been working for several years to help establish the first interventional radiology fellowship program in Kenya. These faculty members visit the site at Kenyatta National Hospital to supplement the education of the interventional radiology physician trainees through lectures and hands-on teaching. Dr. Stewart has served as a faculty member for this program for 5 years. For this trip, Dr. Stewart plans to lead a group including an interventional radiology residents from UCLA, a nurse practitioner experienced in managing patients admitted to interventional radiology, and a medical student working on several collaborative research projects with the Kenyan interventional radiologists. This experienced team will continue our 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 April of 2024.

Population Served

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.

Expected Impact

Our team 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 at UCLA 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.

Trip Photos & Recap

Our group provided clinical and academic interventional radiology (IR) consultation services at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) which is the largest hospital in Kenya, and serves as a public, tertiary referral center for the National Ministry of Health. This 1800 bed hospital is the main teaching hospital affiliated with University of Nairobi College of Health Sciences. The several years long collaboration between IR at UCLA and KNH helped to establish the first IR fellowship training program in Kenya. This year (2024) represents the third graduating class of IR fellows from this program. In our short 2-week visit, our busy clinical schedule confirmed the ongoing severe shortage of IRs at KNH let alone in the remainder of the country. The outstanding fellows graduating from the KNH program are part of the first steps towards addressing this physician shortage.

The UCLA-KNH collaboration contributes to the delivery of high quality IR care for the most vulnerable patients of Kenya. The collaboration also offers mutually beneficial enrichment for physician trainees from both institutions. I had the opportunity to field clinical consults and assist with daily interventions, working closely with local fellows and faculty, as well as faculty from my home institution. Practicing IR in this unique environment exposed me to new techniques and resource preserving concepts. Some example procedures performed include placement of a percutaneous metal stent for malignant biliary obstruction, embolizing a bladder tumor for hematuria (in a patient with a hgb of 2), and bronchial artery embolization for massive hemoptysis in a patient with TB related lung disease. In addition to clinical duties, each member of our group gave daily lectures to the radiology residents and IR fellows on selected IR topics. Through partnerships with private industry partners in Los Angeles, our group delivered approximately $100k worth of IR related medical devices to KNH (pictured above). These materials will be instrumental for patient care and ongoing training of fellows at KNH.