• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
on Graduations

on Graduations

About 6 and a half years ago, Shruti and I sat at my kitchen table and dreamed of Pediatric Emergency and Critical Care in Kenya – We put it on 2 pages, and Michelle and Martin started trusting me with their Wednesday afternoons to teach them each of the 40 topics. I remember the first class vividly – where we were sitting – the questions they asked. It was a strange moment in time, mundane but the beginning of something. . .

Over the next few years, Bob started his Master’s at University of Edinburgh in Pediatric Emergency Medicine. . . Pete and Burt started a parallel program for adults in Kijabe. . .Nate and Wayne recognized the value of the program and turned the 2-page concept into a 60-page curriculum with 100s of supporting articles and resources. . .and then the Clinical Officers Council came to Kijabe, affirmed the need, and approved it.

The six men and women in the photo below, trusted the curriculum when there was no guarantee of a degree. They studied to be able to care better for each and every patient they encountered and they grew and grew and grew and grew. When we got final approval, they tallied their hours in the classroom, counted their hours of clinical work, and then studied relentlessly for the exams Bob and I set for them. The questions were pulled from my board exams and they passed brilliantly. They received credit from the Kijabe College of Health Sciences, having completed all the necessary requirements, and finally graduated (some 6 years in from that first day of training) with their Higher Diploma in Pediatric Emergency and Critical Care.

Today, if a critically ill child arrives at Kijabe Hospital, a PECCCO clinician can start resuscitation, give medicines, interpret labs, intubate, and do whatever is needed to stabilize the patient and help see them through every step to discharge. They are essential to consistent quality care in Kijabe, and I am grateful to call them my friends.

Bob, Lillian, Michelle, Caleb, Michael, Tabitha, and Elizabeth are now faculty in this first-of-its-kind and hopefully reproducible program. We have 8 more clinical officers half way through training, and they will be stationed throughout Kenya when their time is done – bringing what we do here farther than we could ever go. . .


Another great part of graduation day, seven nursing and clinical officer students sponsored through Friends of Kijabe received diplomas and two are now working with my team in the hospital!