Jun 18, 2018

Charles Overcomes HIV

I wish you could all join me at the Turbo Clinic on one of my Friday visits.  You'd probably get to meet Charles, a wonderful young man I enjoy seeing. 

Charles came to the clinic with HIV that was ravaging his physical and mental health.  He was just 45 kilos in his mid-teens. He wouldn't talk to anyone at the clinic and refused to take his medicine. He had no hope. 

One day I said to him: "Charles, if I could get you to take your medicine and get back to school, I might be able to bring you over a laptop the next time I'm in the US." 

Charles now has an undectable HIV load and is up to 60 kilos.  He's finishing his second year in high school and using that laptop everyday. 

May 16, 2018

What Rafiki Means to our Patients

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all your support of The Rafiki Center of Excellence in Adolescent Care. Rafiki means friend in Swahili, and it reflects our commitment to a safe and adolescent-friendly clinic. The clinic has now been running for more than a year and we want to give you a glimpse of what your support gives our patients and the friendliness it provides.

Our adolescents shared these statements about what the clinic means to them:

  • “I see Rafiki clinic as a safe haven for adolescents and young people”
  • “The clinic stands out as a center of excellence in HIV management, access to information, and a rehabilitative center for the young people who explore on their talents and find mentorship on how to live a positive life free from stigmatization and discrimination.”
  • “What I love the most about Rafiki is the flexibility of the staff with the aim of assisting the young people without judging them”
  • “Adolescents can access services without discrimination”
  • “Confidentiality of every client’s information is what I love most about Rafiki. There are many different activities at Rafiki so no one really knows of the health issues the adolescent is facing. They can access care without any of their peers branding them as infected.”

Without your support, our adolescents would not have had this safe and friendly space to access the care they need and deserve. Thank you for all that you have done for the clinic!

May 7, 2018


Three docs
Three docs



Hello from Eldoret. As usual, the past three weeks have flown. It has been a wonderful visit. As to the title “Dow Jones Exceeds Expectations”, let me explain. Two outstanding physicians made their first visit to Eldoret, Drs. Dow and Jones.

Lyndsay Dow is a remarkable palliative care physician from Mount Sinai Medical School in New York. In addition to her clinical expertise, she specializes in teaching health care workers to navigate difficult conversations. For this trip, she developed a teaching program “Communicating Bad News and Responding with Empathy”. She trained the palliative care team in this two-hour interactive seminar. By the time we left, the team was doing an excellent job training physicians, nurses, and trainees. It was very exciting to see Dr. Korir, the lead palliative care physician in Eldoret, do an outstanding job teaching this program. It was also encouraging to see the interest by health care workers throughout the hospital in improving their communication skills.

Ti Jones is an oncologist and palliative physician from Lafayette Indiana. His expertise in oncology really contributed to our work in assessing patients and balancing the tough decisions that many cancer patients face. He spent time with the palliative care team and with the local oncologists. That certainly helped communication between both teams. He is also a natural teacher and his prior work in Uganda made the transition to Eldoret seamless.

An exciting outcome from our visit is the decision by both physicians to continue an ongoing relationship with the Eldoret palliative care team. Now that they know the lay of the land, they are looking forward to returning and working independently. The two of these physicians, along with myself and the ongoing commitment by Colleen Brown from St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis and Peter Kussin from Duke University, will work to support the team throughout much of the year.

Finally, to put the icing on the cake, several leaders at the hospital in Eldoret are ready to proceed with development of a palliative care certificate program for nurses, physician assistants, and physicians. This is a topic we have discussed in the past, but there is now clear movement. It will be a lot of work, but I believe we can play an important supportive role in curriculum development. We hope to work side by side with our Kenyan colleagues to bring new specialty training to Western Kenya.

As always,

Your support is greatly appreciated. Asante Sana (thanks so much). 


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