As the end of the year approaches we have been intentional about spending time reflecting on how God has blessed our lives and the work we have been a part of in Kenya. At times, the day to day grind of what we do can be discouraging and frustrating. Progress can be difficult to recognize when our attention is focused on a sick patient or the latest crisis.
However, when we pause to reflect and thank God for his provision we see that there is a lot to be thankful for. Because development work can be slow and tedious, observing change can take years, and ultimately we trust that God is weaving all of the work his church is doing together for good.
Recently, one of our graduates made a list of all of the alumni from the Tenwek surgical residency since it began in 2007. Included on this list are locations and practice settings of our alumni. We have been fortunate enough to know each of these individuals, and most of them we have been able to play a part in their training. We wanted to share this list as well as some observations on how we are seeing God work in their lives and in the program.
1. Dr. Agneta Odera- Graduate 2012. Dr. Odera practiced as a general surgeon and teaching faculty at Tenwek Hospital and subsequently decided to pursue further training in pediatric surgery in Durban, South Africa. She is currently in the process of starting a Cardiothoracic Fellowship in the Tenwek Hospital Cardiothoracic Program. Dr.Odera is also the current President of the Women in Surgery Africa- WISA-COSECSA organization.
2. Dr. Arega Fekadu- Graduate 2012. Dr.Arega Fekadu completed his surgical training program then proceeded shortly to Ethiopia and afterwards to Malawi where he was the Assistant Program Director at the Malamulo PAACS training program. In 2018, he returned to Tenwek to pursue a fellowship in Cardiothoracic Surgery. He Is currently in his second year Cardiothoracic Fellowship training.
3. Dr. Jack Okumu- Graduate 2014. Jack is currently a general surgeon at the Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya. He serves as the Chief of Surgery. He is passionate about surgical training and is the internship coordinator at the Aga Khan Hospital, Kisumu.
4. Dr. Elijah Mwaura- Graduate 2014. Elijah is currently the Chief Surgeon in Chogoria Mission Hospital in Kenya. He, together with a fellow surgeon, have started a COSECSA training program to train surgical residents.
5. Dr. Philip Blasto Ooko- Graduate 2015. Philip is currently at Litein Mission Hospital serving as a General Surgeon. He, together with colleagues- Drs. Kanyi Kabaiku and Dr.Valentine Mbithi- will be starting a PAACS/COSECSA training program at Litein Mission Hospital. They are currently in the process of interviewing their first 2 surgical residents.
6. Dr. Damaris Mbalu- Graduate 2015. Damaris serves at Nairobi Hospital where she works as a general surgeon.
7. Dr. Ivan Seno Saruni- Graduate 2016. Seno is practicing at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital as a Surgeon and Teaching Faculty in the University. Dr.Saruni forms part of the ATLS supervisors and trainers in the Kenya ATLS chapter, and he also helps oversee surgical residency training at Moi.
8. Dr.Kanyi Kabaiku - Graduate 2016. Kanyi serves at Litein Mission Hospital where he joined as a General Surgeon and is part of the team that will be starting a PAACS/COSECSA General Surgery training program in 2020.
9. Dr. Elizabeth Mwachiro- Graduate 2016. Liz remained at Tenwek Hospital as a general surgeon and teaching faculty as well as the Assistant Program Director of the Tenwek surgical training program.
10. Dr. Michael Mwachiro- Graduate 2016. Mike remained at Tenwek Hospital as teaching faculty, general surgeon and surgical endoscopist. He also is passionate about research and is in the process of setting up a Surgical Endoscopy/ERCP fellowship program at Tenwek Hospital.
11. Dr. Mark Oloo- Graduate 2017. Mark is practicing at Kisumu. He has further done a laparoscopic minimally invasive course recently and is back in the country.
12. Dr. Valentine Mitei- Graduate 2017. Valentine is currently at Litein Mission hospital as a General Surgeon and forms part of the team that will be setting up a PAACS training program in Litein Mission Hospital.
13. Dr. Justus Lando- Graduate 2018. Lando completed his surgical training and remained at Tenwek Hospital as a general surgeon, teaching faculty, and surgical endoscopist in the PAACS Tenwek training program.
14. Dr. Yvonne Wairimu Ndegwa - Graduate 2018. Dr. Ndegwa has moved to Nairobi where she practices as a General Surgeon at the Kikuyu Mission Hospital.
When Paul prays for fellow Christians he often gives thanks to God for seeing evidence of his grace in their lives (see 2 Thessalonians 1: 3-12). We do the same when we see how God is using our alumni. We felt called to Tenwek to participate in educating and discipling young Christian surgeons. In our minds, one of the measures of success is graduating surgeons from our program who have the same goal - to be surgeons who follow Christ and who invest in others through providing compassionate patient care and education/discipleship of others. Almost all of our alumni are involved in teaching, equipping, and investing in others. We now find ourselves not just praying for our residents and alumni, but also for the young trainees in whom our graduates are investing. Recognizing how God is using our alumni is incredibly encouraging to us because we see God's handiwork on display.