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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Collaboration and Research

This picture, from Mardi, makes me very very happy.  One of my most important goals this year as head of Paediatrics at Kijabe was to get our department to share our data and experience.  We set a goal of presenting two papers at the International Congress of Tropical Paediatrics, since it was to be held in Nairobi in 2014.  And this week, we presented three.

We, as in a very royal "we".  Everyone on our team cares for patients and collects data.  We all participate in entering it into databases on a shared google drive.  We all pour over it, and analyze it in audits and presentations.  About six months ago I selected some of our ongoing projects and wrote them up in abstract form.  When they were accepted, with the advice of a more experienced colleague and lots of googling, I created the posters.  Dr. Ima (pictured above), former intern Dr. Cathy, and long-term CO Bob, are presenting them this week.  

A brief description of the projects:  1.  We compared the survival of preemies before and after the introduction of bubble CPAP, a low-cost appropriate-technology intervention to deliver oxygen and airway pressure to newborns, and showed a significant improvement.  2.  We reported on the overall survival of newborns by weight, gestational age, and whether they were delivered at Kijabe or transferred in, which is an important benchmark to show what is possible in a low-resource African setting.  3.  We compared two strategies for the management of a particular obstetric risk to newborn infections (prolonged rupture of the amniotic membranes, colloquially "water breaking") and showed that a lower-cost algorithm was safe and effective.  

I like being part of a team that is not only caring expertly for sick kids, doing so with the compassion of Jesus, teaching others to do the same . . . but also trying to evaluate what we do scientifically and add to the body of knowledge in the world.  Most sick and dying children are not in places where most researchers want to work.  Medicine needs to be driven by evidence, not just assumptions.  So the potential to address real questions, and look for real improvements in care that matters, is great at Kijabe.

Though it is a real loss for me to miss this international meeting, I am cheering from afar as my friends and colleagues go and discuss and learn and share our experience.  Yeah team!

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