Going Far with Kijabe Hospital

To call Kijabe Hospital innovative would be a vast understatement. I’ve had the privilege of being able to visit three times and each trip has brought along opportunities to learn more of the outstanding work being achieved as well as new surprises.

Health eVillages has been proud to help support the KRNA Program (Kenya Registered Nurse Anesthetist) for the past several years. Through our partners at Skyscape, we have been able to purchase dozens of medical textbooks that are used as part of their curriculum. In discussing these resources with the Information and Communications Technology Manager, Joash Kiptanui, we’ve come to learn how invaluable these texts are to the students of this program.

“Locally, these books would have to be imported,” Joash explained. And at 15,000 – 20,000 in Kenyan Shillings, the comment that “this is probably half of (their) salary” really puts that into perspective.

In addition to the tablets being an efficient delivery system for these medical texts – allowing for dozens of books to be easily housed and searched on a small device – these tablets are also enabling the collection of a quality improvement survey, which is the first of its kind. Graduates of the KRNA Program and other anesthesia caregivers are able to log in information on all of their procedures. “You can look at it and see the tremendous change that these people are doing in terms of outcomes and mortality,” Joash says.

Some of the most exciting data that we’ve seen has shown that over the past year there have been over 2,000 procedures that have taken place where the physician had used the tablets and medical texts in some capacity – either in prep of the procedure, during the procedure, or both. Furthermore, as Joash explains, “Most cases are marked as emergencies.” He continues, “When you find that they’ve marked the case as emergency and then at the end of it they say that they have referred to the resources, it means they are referring to get some more confidence or just refresh what they know before they go into the case. And most of those outcomes are successful.” That this technology and these medical resources have helped in yielding so many successful health outcomes is something of a miracle.

Before departing Kijabe Hospital, we had the opportunity to quickly visit their Simulation Lab. This lab provides Kijabe Hospital’s learners the opportunity to be exposed to some real-life scenarios in a controlled environment outside of the classroom.  Joash recounted one great story about a student who during a simulation tried to take full control of the situation, not allowing any of his counterparts to intercede, which ultimately resulted in a failed trial procedure. Upon watching the video playback and debriefing after the session, when the student was asked what he felt went wrong, he responded very simply, “I just needed help.”  This story reminded me of a great African proverb that I once heard:

If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.


It’s an incredibly humbling thought that we’ve helped to play even a small part in providing some of the help these incredible students and physicians have needed.

I’m confident that if we continue to go together, we will continue to go far.

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