The many times I visited the hospitals in Kenya, I was there as a patient. I waited in line, sometimes for hours, to see a doctor. I never knew the inner workings of the hospital, the decision making processes that the physicians and all the involved staff did in analyzing the patients to determine the appropriate steps of treatment. I was oblivious to the screening/diagnostic equipment or lack thereof that were used; that most of the time our visits as patients were stretching the available resources beyond their capacity. Coming back as a medical student and future physician, I have a set of new eyes that suddenly realize how the task is daunting and how disproportionate the physicians ( read cardiologist/cardiothoracic surgeons) to the population ratio is. There are approximately 11 of them in total for a population of near 40,000,000!! with almost 80% concentrated in Nairobi. Mombasa, my home town has only 1 cardiologist for a population of near 1,000,000. As a matter of fact, the cardiologist in Mombasa covers the entire coast province with a population of 3.2 million people. I don’t see this as a miserable situation but a gaping opportunity to be an agent of change. I feel greatly renewed and encouraged being in the company of these great physicians (Drs. Jarret, Passik, Gelfand) who have left their busy practice and families to come and be a catalyst for a solution over 7000miles away. I am looking forward to see how the courtship with the Kenyan doctors develops and remain will optimistic, so far things have been getting better. The barrier of mistrust from the local physicians, brewed by past disappointing experiences to say the least, is quickly coming down. Greg is doing a great job capturing the unfolding or rather status quo scenarios, which will help to not only measure progress over time but will add a “feel” of how things actually are.
Moses Wananu, MS