Feb 5, 2021

Palliative Care Outreaching into Rural Kenya

JAMBO!

 I suspect most of us have been looking forward to 2021. Unfortunately, it appears we will still be dealing with COVID19 for a while. This also means the need to provide Palliative Care is even greater.

The AMPATH program, led by Dr. Hussein Elias in Eldoret, has continued to train Community Health Volunteers. To date, 80 individuals have participated in a 3 day training in Palliative Care, which has included information regarding COVID19. Since going back into their rural communities, the trainees have assessed over 1,000 individuals for physical and psychosocial distress. Seventy five of the individuals assessed required referral to a palliative care clinics for symptom management. Our budget for this program was 10 trainings. Given the positive impact we have been able to show, we hope to expand the program throughout Western Kenya. Any contribution you provide will assist us in this expansion.

We continue to hone our curriculum for training clinical officers and nurses as Palliative Care specialists. COVID19 has provided challenges for learners but have also used this opportunity to develop a Western Kenya Palliative Care Teleconference. This is a monthly online meeting that combines a sort didactic lecture on a specific topic, and then allows Palliative Care practitioners to present challenging cases for group discussion. The first teleconference was help in January of 2021 and was well attended with a great discussion.

The AMPATH program is grateful to the amazing Kenyan Clinicians who continue to provide clinical care during the pandemic. We also thank those who support their efforts. The program continues to grow and you are a key to our success! 

Please stay safe! - Ken

Oct 6, 2020

October Update

JAMBO!

Hope everyone is staying safe in these challenging time.

Reports from our colleagues in Kenya tell us that things are starting to open up slowly. COVID is still a concern and folks are working hard to take appropriate precautions. Since our last report, we are excited to announce that our Kenyan colleague Dr. Hussein Elias was appointed Adjunct Professor of Family Medicine at Moi University. This was made possible by your financial support and we are deeply indebted to support of people like you.

I can share that Dr. Elias has been working diligently to promote palliative care. His efforts include clinical care and a number of educational efforts. In our last report, I mentioned he was organizing training sessions for Community Health Workers (CHW). These individuals are embedded in rural communities and are often the first contact patients have with medical professionals. The palliative care trainings were planned before COVID-19 but he was given permission from local health officials to proceed on the condition that he also provide training about COVID. He has conducted three sessions to date, each lasting 3 days. Numbers were limited to 10 so social distancing could be maintained. Additional trainings are planned in the upcoming months. The impact of this program is being assessed and if successful we will look to expand throughout Kenya. Part of the goal is to connect the CHW with palliative care specialists in an effort to ensure individuals in rural setting have access to pain and symptom management. We continue to work towards expanding the number of palliative care specialists and we'll update you in our next report. 

Thanks again for all your support. The program continues to grow and you are a key factor!

Jun 4, 2020

THE NEXT BIG THING

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Jambo!

Our last update was in February. I’m not sure where to begin. It seem like it was a lifetime ago in a world far, far away. I do hope all of you are safe and weathering the pandemic. For those in the US, I hope you are coping with the challenging events of the past week.

The pandemic has clearly changed our plans but not our agenda or determination. A number of palliative care physicians, including myself, were scheduled to be in Eldoret in April and May. Unfortunately, we are not able to go. That has left the heavy lifting to our Kenyan colleague Dr. Hussein Elias and the palliative care team at MTRH. Besides the clinical care they provide, Dr. Elias is organizing training sessions for Community Health Workers (CHW). These individuals are embedded in rural communities and are often the first, and sometimes only, contact patients have with medical professionals. The trainings were planned before COVID-19 and are focused on educating the CHW on palliative care and connecting them with palliative care providers. While the number of cases of COVID-19 remains low in Western Kenya, special safety precautions will be taken during the training. Moreover, the training will include education about COVID-19.

THE NEXT BIG THING. Currently, the medical school associated with our efforts does not have a faculty member to lead palliative care. With our financial support, a position is being developed, I feel this is the most important assistance we can give to improving pain and symptom management in Western Kenya. A palliative care faculty member will not only impact direct patient care but will also play a critical role in educating students at all level of medical training. The impact will be truly exponential. Any assistance you can provide in allowing helping us create this position will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks as always for your moral and financial support. Please, stay safe!

Ken

 
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