Doug Wasitis – greetings from Eldoret

Jambo

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)!
 
Doug Wasitis
Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations
Indiana University

 

Kenyan child in Sally Test Pediatric Center 

Sally Test kid

Posted at 04:01

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