Pediatric Emergency and Critical Care Clinical Officer

Why is Pediatric Critical Care Critical in the Developing World?

Worldwide, paediatric emergency and critical care is being recognized as a cornerstone in advancing the clinical care of children and decreasing mortality. Every day 17,000 children under the age of 5 die in resource poor settings often due to preventable and treatable illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, and trauma. Of admitted patients, 87% die within the first 24 hours of hospital admission because of inability to efficiently resuscitate and stabilize. Between 2003 and 2008, the proportion of deaths related to trauma increased from 2.5% to 5.9% with road traffic accidents being the leading cause. Delays in treatment of acute illness and injury are known to increase morbidity and mortality and Jameson et al 2006 estimate that timely emergency care has the potential to address 45% of deaths and 36% of disability in low income and middle-income countries.

What is the Context in Kijabe, Kenya that makes PECCCO a Great Opportunity?

Improving emergency and critical care could address a large part of that burden. In 2011, Dr. Ben Wachira highlighted the chronic lack of infrastructure and personnel for emergency medicine and critical care in Kenya. In 2014, Burke found that little had changed as he surveyed 30 hospitals in western Kenya with similar findings. Only 30% of higher-level facilities had a defined organised approach to trauma and no facilities had sepsis clinical guidelines. As of 2019, there are only 4 trained paediatric critical care doctors and 2 trained paediatric emergency doctors in the country. University of Nairobi has started a fellowship to address this lack of specialty, but a tremendous difference can be made by training clinical officers and equipping them as competent and efficient first responders who can also carry care inpatient.

In January 2014 AIC Kijabe Hospital commenced an internal training program for emergency and critical care for clinical officers (ECCCO) that was officially recognized in 2017 and has now trained almost 30 clinicians in these essential skills through both theoretical and practical teaching components. Recognizing the success of this program (which has dropped mortality in the first 24 hours by 50% at AIC Kijabe Hospital), as well as the unique challenges and considerations that take place in the emergency and critical care of children under the age of 16, we have developed a parallel curriculum uniquely focused on paediatric care of critically ill children from the moment they arrive in casualty to ongoing care until they are completely stabilized for care on the ward leading to discharge.

Cost and Details

The PECCCO (Pediatrics Emergency and Critical Care Clinical Officer) program aims to train excellent clinicians who can stand in the gap and save lives the most critical situations and allow the improvement of care and infrastructure for children throughout Kenya and East Africa.


Cost per student is $3500 tuition + $1500 cost of living stipend for the 18-month program.


$5,500 of $15,000 raised for the first class.

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