Hello from Eldoret, Kenya, and the AMPATH program. Soon
after taking on the position as IU's Director of Federal Relations
in 2005, my colleagues Dr. Bob Einterz and Fran Quigley briefed me
on Indiana University's role with the AMPATH program. At that
time, the program had been nominated multiple times for the Nobel
Peace Prize, and had received PEPFAR funding, as well as a
grant from USAID. For those of you unfamiliar with AMPATH, it is a
unique collaboration involving the Indiana University School of
Medicine, Moi University School of Medicine in Eldoret, and a
consortium of nine other North American academic health centers
with the noble objective of providing care (primary healthcare,
chronic disease care, and specialty care), educating future health
care providers, and conducting health research - to meet the
complex needs of an underserved population in Western Kenya.
AMPATH began as a multi-university effort to provide
critically-needed care in the face of the HIV pandemic. Over the
ensuing years, AMPATH has served more than 160,000 HIV-positive
individuals and built one of the most comprehensive and successful
HIV/AIDS prevention and control programs in the world.
Without a background in medicine, my experience here in
Eldoret will be somewhat unique. The vast majority of my colleagues
who volunteer their time find themselves knee deep in care delivery
almost as soon as they arrive. In addition to helping
patients and their families with noncritical needs, I look forward
to spending time working with Peter Park and others on a plan to
make the program sustainable beyond 2017, when the current USAID
award to AMPATH is set to expire.
This is my first attempt at blogging and I plan to use this site
to chronicle my experiences and recount my observations and general
thoughts about the Kenyan way of life.
My first day was spent touring the AMPATH facility and the Moi
Teaching and Referral Hospital. The facilities were more crowded
than usual as it was the first day of full operations since
Christmas. The wards (called modules) were much smaller than I
expected, especially compared with what we would have at a similar
facility in the U.S.
I met many of the Kenyans who keep the facility functioning,
including Lucy, a head nurse in the Pediatrics Module and Pascalia,
who I met in the Sally Test Pediatric Center and who serves as
an outreach working for children. I also spent time in the
Critical Care Unit and the HIV/AIDS consultation area. My first day
ended with a Swahili lesson. I will be spending an hour each
day learning Swahili. Lala salama (goodnight)!
Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations
Kenyan child in Sally Test Pediatric