Like many African countries, Kenya suffers from a shortage of ENT providers: about 60 ENT surgeons service a country of 40 million. Every year, we lead trips to Malindi in the autumn and Kijabe in the spring. These educational camps would be impossible without the support and close collaboration of our partner The Caris Foundation through its educational mission efforts in Kenya, and our host hospitals Tawfiq Hospital in Malindi and Kijabe Hospital in Kijabe.
We have also run a head and neck dissection/surgical course along with the ENT faculty of the University of Nairobi, and work closely with their surgeons to establish our educational goals. We have arranged for several surgeons from Kenya to visit Vanderbilt University Medical Center as visiting observational scholars, so they can continue to expand their surgical knowledge.
Our team of about twenty-five medical staff visiting Kenya every year includes American surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, nurse anesthetists, and OR techs, and a nurse practitioner who sees patients in a tiny one-room clinic with our pathologist and speech pathologist. In 2015, we also brought four medical students who created an electronic medical record system for better follow-up of our patients.
Our student-surgeons—Kenyan ENT surgeons and African academic otolaryngologists who have traveled in some years from as far away as Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda—participate in surgeries in two to three operating theatres for nine or ten days, depending on availability at our host hospital.
Our patients come from the local area for each surgical camp, or are referred from the University of Nairobi. We also see a large population of patients from rural areas with little or no ENT care.