AAO-HNSF Humanitarian Travel Grant Report: Eldoret, Kenya
In October 2022, I traveled to Eldoret, Kenya, with George Kurien, MD, a fellowship-trained neurotologist and one of my attendings at the University of Vermont Medical Center.
Courtney B. Miller, MD, The University of Vermont Medical Center
In October 2022, I traveled to Eldoret, Kenya, with George Kurien, MD, a fellowship-trained neurotologist and one of my attendings at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Dr. Kurien has done this trip many times, but his most recent visit to Kenya was in 2019. This was his first time back since the pandemic, and I was lucky enough to join him. We worked at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) for one week. MTRH serves a population of over 25 million and provides multispecialty care to those living in the western half of Kenya, eastern Uganda, southern Sudan, northern Tanzania, and Democratic Republic of Congo, among other areas. The sponsoring organization was AMPATH Global, which is a worldwide network of 17 academic health centers that provide specialty care to Kenyans and provide training to the local physicians and residents.
While there, we were joined by University of Alberta staff (and Dr. Kurien’s former colleagues): Andre Isaac, MD (pediatric ENT), Timothy Cooper, MD, FRCSC, (neurotology), and Prof. Lakshmi Puttagunta, MD (pathology). Our goal during the ENT camp at MTRH was to work directly with patients from the region, treating various general ENT, otologic, and airway conditions. In addition, we trained Nairobi otolaryngology residents and attendings in common otologic techniques, including tympanoplasty and tympanomastoidectomy, airway reconstruction, and endoscopic sinus surgery. The Nairobi residents also participated in a laryngotracheal reconstruction simulation using airway models and didactic sessions about chronic ear disease that featured oral board-style questions. We hope to continue to foster a long-term partnership and provide training to the Kenyan residents and attendings to improve their confidence and capacity in dealing with complex cases going forward.
Furthermore, a new microscope and Vuzix® augmented reality goggles were purchased for the hospital using a grant from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. We assisted in getting these devices set up and working while we were there. This equipment will allow our providers to assist Kenyan residents and attendings remotely during cases if needed. Stryker also donated a new drill, burrs, microdebrider, and other basic ENT equipment and instruments, all of which will hopefully increase the hospital’s ability and capacity to provide care for patients.
Overall, this was an unbelievable experience—one in which I worked with truly incredible people and provided care to some of the most grateful patients. This trip was made possible with the help of the AAO-HNSF Humanitarian Travel Grant, and for that I am so grateful!