I stood in the hallway outside of the Maternity department with my friend several weeks ago as his wife was in the delivery room, chatting about his excitement and anticipation and praying for a beautiful, healthy baby (pictured above). This prayer was answered, but only because of Kijabe surgeons.
The little boy was born with a medical condition called anorectal malformation. Dr. Erik Hansen and Dr. Ken Muma, pediatric surgeons at Kijabe Hospital, not only perform 40 surgeries for anorectal malformation (ARM) each year, they teach pediatric surgery fellows to do the same at hospitals across sub-Saharan Africa. ARM poses life-threatening risk for some 28,000 children worldwide each year, who, without surgery to repair lack of rectal/anal connection, will die within two weeks of birth. In a world where 5 billion people lack surgical access, children in the “developing” world are disproportionately affected due to lack of pediatric surgeons and anesthetists.
Our year-end project for Friends of Kijabe is to expand the operating theatre complex at Kijabe, nearly doubling from 7 to 15 rooms so we can meet more of the huge surgical burden in Kenya. By huge, we have 300 patients waiting for orthopedic surgery and another 300 waiting for plastic surgery. Imagine waiting a year with a broken ankle!
But not only does our surgery team do the work, they are multipliers – teaching surgery residents, fellows and nurse anesthetists who will in turn provide the best possible surgical care around Kenya and across Africa.
This is the first of several posts to come about Kijabe surgery – some sharing stories, and some asking for your help to make this big dream a reality.