Doug Wasitis – holistic approach to health care

Day 3

Each day AMPATH physicians, including Indiana University School of Medicine students, examine and treat dozens of patients, some with acute and life-threatening conditions. Furthermore, one hallmark of the AMPATH program is its holistic focus on the entire patient and not just the disease. If a patient is hungry, or without a job, or is the victim of abuse or discrimination, AMPATH will respond.

I witnessed this holistic approach to individual patient care up close this morning when I accompanied Dr. Joe Mamlin, AMPATH Field Director, to see patients at Mosoriot, the program's first rural clinic. Joe is one of the patriarchs of the AMPATH "tribe" and his personality could be best described as a combination of Santa Claus, Mr. Rogers, and St. Peter.

Over a five-hour period, I sat with Joe in one of Mosoriot's spartan examination rooms as he saw more than a dozen HIV-infected patients. While a couple of the patients were there for a routine check-up and to refill their antiretroviral (ARVs) medications, the majority of patients Joe examined required treatment for additional complications including blood clots, pneumonia, and tuberculosis (Kenya ranks 13th on the World Health Organization list of TB-burdened nations). Two of the patients required immediate hospitalization. Despite the severity of many patients' conditions, the proverb "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" was in clear evidence at Mosoriot. The clinic's administrative staff is overwhelmingly female and their calm demeanor bled over into the patients. 

One patient that stood out the most for me during this visit was the last one examined, an 18-year-old orphan named John. John's growth had been severely stunted by HIV and he appeared no older than 11. In addition, he suffered from moderate tooth decay, especially among his front teeth. Despite these hardships, John had recently been accepted into one of Kenya's most prestigious universities, but fell short about $100 USD to pay the school's required entrance fee. After receiving a commitment to cover this shortfall through the program, John left the clinic beaming from ear to ear.

Doug Wasitis
Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations
Indiana University

Photos from the Mosoriot clinic.

Mosoriot waiting

Mosoriot IU

Posted at 06:11

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