At 3½ months old, Linet Wanjala’s son, Gift Wafula, suddenly began to have acute difficulty breathing. Linet rushed baby Gift to the intensive care unit (ICU) at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, where he spent seven harrowing days on mechanical ventilation. He was treated for pneumonia and stepped down to normal hospital care for 10 additional days, but when they returned home, Linet noticed that Gift continued to wheeze. Still, she prayed the worst was over.
Her hopes were short-lived. Only 22 days after Gift’s discharge, he was readmitted in severe respiratory distress. This time, a CT scan revealed the cause of his suffocating symptoms: a 3-4 centimeter cyst was exerting pressure on one of his two airways. “This condition requires immediate relief,” Gift’s physician, Dr. Kenneth Githitu, stated in an urgent memo to Kenya’s National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). “Local experts recommend this cardiothoracic operation to be undertaken outside the country due to its complexity.” With NHIF support, A&K Global Health immediately set in motion a surgical referral to Apollo Hospital and prepared Linet and Gift to travel to New Delhi, India.
Mother and son arrived in New Delhi two days before Gift turned five months old. A&K Global Health staff received them at the airport and, as Linet gratefully remembered, “took us to the hospital and ensured that we were immediately admitted. The next morning, the surgery was done. Within no time, [Gift] was relieved from the pain.”
Linet’s recounting makes the process sound almost simple, and for her and her baby, it was. That’s because A&K Global Health was there supporting her, harnessing our deep experience and unmatched expertise in healthcare management to ensure that Gift received vital treatment – and quickly. Without our professional, first-rate facilitation of his case, Gift could have suffered brain damage from a chronically insufficient oxygen intake over time, or worse. Dr. Muthu Jotji, Gift’s doctor and Apollo Hospital’s Senior Consultant Pediatric Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, acknowledged these sobering facts in an interview two weeks after Gift’s operation.
“[Gift] was transferred from Kenya in quite serious condition, with very severe breathing difficulty for many months. Because we already had the diagnosis from Kenya through A&K Global Health, we promptly did a repeat contrasting CT/angiogram, which confirmed that there was a rare tumor arising from the right main windpipe.” With this confirmation, Dr. Jotji and his team wasted no time scheduling immediate surgery: “I think it was on a Sunday, even,” Dr. Jotji recalled. Post-operation, “to my surprise, [Gift] came off the ventilator very quickly. He came off, started feeding, and – you see him now,” Dr. Jotji gestured to the healthy little boy grinning in delight as several A&K Global Health staff members, like new aunts and uncles to him, entertained him with a plush teddy bear they had given him. “He’s a very well and happy child.”
Linet also recognized the strong bonds that sprung up during the trying, and transformative, preceding weeks. “I would like to give thanks to the family of A&K Global Health, because with them, they took complete care of us.” And she had another specific message to share: “I would like to tell mothers out there who think that everything has come to an end, when you are advised by the doctor to take your baby to an overseas hospital or to be referred to another hospital for treatment and management of the baby…don’t give up. There are so many friends out there, friends like A&K Global Health!”
Indeed, it’s the combination of our expert professionalism in healthcare management and our genuine personal dedication to our patients and their families that make A&K Global Health one of a kind. And both qualities are saving lives like little Gift’s, and forever changing lives like Linet’s, every day.
In the photograph above: A&K Global Health staff members surround Kenyan mother Linet Wanjala and her son, Gift Wafula, as they celebrate his recovery from emergency surgery in India which A&K Global Health facilitated to removed a rare, life-threatening bronchogenic cyst.
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