Launch of the Kenyan Fellowship

 

The Kenyan Cardiothoracic Surgical Trainee Fellowship was launched at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Reunion Week, 2-4 September 2015. The fellowship aims to raise funds for an ongoing rolling fellowship to support a 2 year registrar placement at The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. The Baird Institute and the University of Nairobi are working together in this venture to help support cardiothoracic surgery capability within Kenya.

Kenya lies between Somalia to the East, Ethiopia to the North, Sudan to the northwest, Uganda to the West and Tanzania to the South. The economy of Kenya, at present, depends mainly on agriculture (tea, coffee, dairy produce, meat, sisal, pyrethrum) and tourism. Kenya’s population is about 38 million with a concentration in the central and western parts of the country. The northern and north eastern parts of the country have sparse population due to the semi desert climatic conditions prevalent there.

There has been an exponential rise in cardiovascular disease in Kenya and it is soon to become the nation’s largest health problem in the next decade – placing a significant strain on the health care system, as well as the Kenyan economy as a whole. Ideally, the ratio of cardiothoracic surgeons to the population is said to be around 1: 160 000 – in Kenya it is a staggering 1: 5, 000, 000 (perhaps 78 cardiothoracic surgeons for the nation)

Kenya commenced a cardiovascular and thoracic surgical training program in 2012 and successful trainees from this program are awarded a Master of Medicine in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. However, in a developing country there are some gaps in exposure to critical aspects of cardiothoracic practice which underpin the development of an effective and sustainable Kenyan cardiothoracic surgical service.

The Fellowship will allow trainees who have completed their local training, to come to Australia – with the first trainee expected in January 2017. The Baird has launched the Kenyan Fellowship Campaign in order to provide a sustained approach to funding trainees to study this exacting form of surgery and to further the training programs clinically within Nairobi and Kenya.