By Lorraine Anyango
Accompanied by Dr. Aappolonia Aoko, Deputy Branch, Chief for programs, CDC Kenya, they held deliberations with JOOTRH’s CEO Dr. George Rae in the company of members of the hospital management Team and doctors working at the hospital as well.
Dr. Harsh who is the spouse to Her Excellency Margaret Cushing Whitman, the U.S Ambassador to Kenya, come along with his wife to Kenya for the next three years and is going around seeking opportunities to ease the burden that comes with neuroscience cases.
His visits wouldn’t have come at a better time than when JOOTRH is planning for another neurosurgical camp, scheduled for 17th to 21st October 2022. Doctors have joined hands to offer free surgery for brain and spine diseases that needs to be operated on.
Neurosurgeons on board for this upcoming camp include Dr. Lee Ogutha, Dr. J. Jacob, Dr. Ogutu, Dr . A Schug, Dr. Walter Adero who is an orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Danile Ogutu who is a physician and an emergency doctor.
Dr. Harsh sought information on the Jootrh’s coverage area and population cover and the neurosurgeon’s work within the campus.
“Neurosurgeon practice here is still at its infancy stage, the hospital carries out trauma surgeries and neuron-trauma work with the aid of human resources a residency training program, Maseno department of surgery and anesthesiology.” Dr. Lee said.
Adding that the region has also benefitted in the last from partnerships with other doctors during the neurosurgical camps.
He said that since 2018, JOOTRH has had a challenge related to equipment, however, they had been getting help from Tenwek Hospital which was supported by Dr. Harsh’s younger brother who is also a neurosurgeon to handle neuron surgical cases.
The meeting discussed exchange programs between neurosurgeons from JOOTRH and United States to aid in capacity development as well as exposure.
He said that apart from just having modern sophisticated equipment, it’s important to have skills in repair and maintenance of the same otherwise they stay stalled and don’t serve their intended purpose, highlighting gaps in some existing partnership.
“Equipment could be delicate and sophisticated, yet with no technician personnel with repair capacity to maintain the equipment.” He emphasized.
He mentioned the Duke program, which has partnered with the main hospital in Uganda, as a good initiative that also provided joint research initiates, adding that there is a need to develop locally sustainable teams that will be able to carry the neurosurgeon work.
Suggestions for the inclusion of anesthesiology and strengthening the intensive care staff working together for a while with qualified personnel from the United States was also discussed.
The meeting largely discussed partnerships, training of people as well as the sustainability of initiatives through technical capacity.
Dr. Harsh has previously served as an associate dean for postgraduate, education professor of neurological surgery, and director of the brain Tumor Centre at Stanford University, school of medicine.
Before that, he was an associate professor at the Harvard medical school and executive director of the Brain Tumor Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Harsh earned an A.B degree summa cum laud from Harvard College, an M. A from Oxford University when he was a Rhodes Scholar, an MD from Harvard medical school, and MBA from Boston University.
He was certified by the American Board of Neurological surgery. Past and current national leadership roles include president of the neurosurgical Foundation, chairman of the Neurosurgical research education foundation, and chair of the ACGME residency Review committee for neurosurgery.
In 2022 he received the carrier service award of the society of neurosurgeon surgery.