• ashirk@gmail.com
  • Kijabe, Kenya
an update on the fellowship. . .

an update on the fellowship. . .

My first weekend in Kenya, I was invited to the University of Nairobi with Mardi Steere to join a meeting on writing the curriculum for a Fellowship for Pediatric Emergency and Critical Care in collaboration with the University of Washington- Seattle Children’s. I mainly acted as the secretary, listening to everyone talk and expound upon ideas that had been in process for a few years at that point.

5 years later, after many revisions and lots of red tape, we welcomed our first fellows – Mukokinya and Chebet, followed soon by Janvier from Rwanda. The first years were a huge learning curve, complicated by COVID, and we learned how to schedule, how to teach, how to adjust, how to test, and how to recruit.

Janvier, Chebet, and Kinya were joined by Fadhila and Adnaan, and then Priyanka, Susan, Lolla, and Rukiya, Kunga, and then Udemba.

I host each fellow in Kijabe for three months as the only PEM doctor in the country after Mardi returned to Australia and helped organize Intensive Learning Weeks 4 times a year in our Simulation Center with visitors from all over the world and our own Kijabe experts. I have had my professors teach my fellows, which is so much fun . . .both in person and by Zoom. Mardi, Amelie, and Emily help from America and Australia and countless people have invested time, trips, and knowledge into each fellow. Rashmi and Bhupi (Kenyan critical care docs) and I provide support on the ground.

We are three years in with 5 graduates and 5 more in the fellowship. . .and I have loved what the fellows have added to our work in Kijabe and to my life. They come to learn Emergency Medicine, but they help with the PICU and HDU as well. They push me. They teach me. They ask hard questions. We learn so many things together.

Two years is a short period of time to learn what would be a 4 or 6 year fellowship in America, but their capacity to absorb and study around the clock amazes me.

I am no longer the only PEM doc in Kenya – Adnaan, Kinya, and Chebet have joined me and Fadhila and Janvier are setting up programs in Tanzania and Rwanda.

Below are pictures of the fellows and the intensives. It is so fun to watch these weeks and months pour into people who are changing the face of Emergency and critical care for children in Kenya. . .