Two future participants of The Baird Institute’s Kenyan Fellowship program visit Australia
Pictured: (Left to right) photographed in front of RPAH; Dr Nikita Mehta, Dr Fredrick Mitema, Ambassador Isaiya Kabiya, Prof Paul Bannon & Dr Victor Kwasi
In November we hosted two future participants of The Baird Institute’s Kenyan Fellowship Program in Australia; Dr Nikita Mehta and Dr Fredrick Mitema from Nairobi. They came to Australia on a “travelling scholarship”. While here they attended the annual conference of the Association of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons of Asia in Melbourne, then came to Sydney to visit Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) and The Baird Institute’s research programs and research facilities. During the reception and tour, Dr Mehta and Dr Mitema were joined by the Kenyan High Commissioner from Canberra, Ambassador Isaiya Kabiya.
Nikita is the first locally trained female cardiothoracic surgeon in East and Central Africa and is a graduate of the program at The University of Nairobi that The Baird Institute helped establish around 5 years ago. Dr Mehta completed her undergraduate and post-graduate training at the University of Nairobi last year, graduating with a Master’s degree in cardiothoracic and vascular surgery. She will return to Sydney in 2018/2019 to commence her 2 year surgical trainee fellowship at RPAH under the guidance of Professor Paul Bannon, the Chair of The Baird Institute. Nikita hopes this will give her the skills and knowledge to one day set up a self-sustained cardiothoracic centre of excellence in Kenya specialising in clinical care, training and research.
In Kenya, we are still in the infantile stage when it comes to cardiac surgery. This is partly because of the lack of skilled personnel, as well as the numerous challenges of providing super specialised care in a resource constrained environment. Working at RPA will give me exposure to cardiac surgeries which are not routinely performed back home.