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!
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