Meet Fredrick Kinama of Nairobi, Kenya, our latest travel medicine scholar.
Dr. Kinama received the inaugural 2014 IAMAT Violet Williams Travel Medicine Scholarship to attend a travel medicine certification course sponsored by the South African Society of Travel Medicine in May. Here are 8 interesting facts about Dr. Kinama and what he learned during his training in Johannesburg.
- Is 32 years old. Speaks English and Swahili, and is well versed in Taita, a Bantu language spoken in the Taita Hills on the south eastern border with Tanzania. Graduated from the University of Nairobi Medical School in 2008 and is certified in health management systems. Among his previous positions, he worked in El Wak on the border with Somalia providing medical care to employees working for international humanitarian organizations.
- Currently works at the Karibu Medical Centre in Nairobi with 3 other general practitioners and 3 nurses. He and his colleagues participate in weekly continuing medical education workshops usually held on Fridays.
- At his clinic, he sees mostly Kenyans travelling abroad, including Congolese, Rwandan, South Sudanese patients. He also cares for travellers from all over the world going on safaris and Chinese expats working on infrastructure projects in his country.
- Is passionate about travel medicine and wants to expand its practice in Kenya. He plans to reach out to as many people as possible by partnering with local hospitals and clinics, including travel companies, universities who send students abroad, and businesses with expat employees. Dr. Kinama says that as more Kenyans travel abroad they need to be reminded of possible travel-related health risks.
- Learned that travel health goes beyond the administration of vaccines. “It’s patient-dependent and needs to consider the duration and itinerary of the trip. It’s important to get more information on the destination and potential risks,” he says. It’s detail-oriented, encompasses many medical disciplines, and knowledge of geography is a must! Highlights of the training course for Dr. Kinama were travel and mental health; expat health; malaria prevention and consequences of a delayed diagnosis; Hajj travel, medical evacuation, and sub-optimal care in resource limited or remote areas.
- Other travel medicine considerations that are of particular interest to him: Decompression illnesses, mainly on how to adjust from high altitude to diving situations. Dr. Kinama notes that the main travel health concerns in Kenya are sun safety, Malaria, Dengue, and Schistosomiasis. In rural areas, the priority health concerns affecting locals are maternal and child health.
- Thanks to the scholarship, Dr. Kinama can now confidently carry out a comprehensive pre-travel consultation and can provide a post-travel assessment for travellers who come back with an illness. The scholarship course inspired him to be a travel medicine pioneer in Kenya and to further his studies. He plans to apply for a Master’s of Science in International Health at Jomo Kenyatta University.
- Likes to travel, make new friends, and read non-fiction specifically about science, technology and health. Dr. Kinama volunteers in orphanages providing medical care to children as well as families in low income settlements.
A scholarship in honour of Violet Williams
Violet Turnbull Williams was born on February 14, 1922 in Yorkshire, England, and grew up in the village of Ormesby. She was one of three remarkable children born to Fred and Em (née Gower) Turnbull.
Because of her reputation at the one-room school in the village and her love of reading, Vi, as she was known, was given the run of the library in the Squire’s manor house. She was the first student in that little school to be granted a scholarship to extend her education. She was all set to continue to university, but World War II interrupted that. Though she never received an official degree, her love of learning persisted throughout her life.
Vi moved to London as a young woman and became a mental health counsellor. There she reconnected with a childhood friend, Griffin Williams. The two eventually married and moved to Hamilton, Canada, where Griff found work at the steel mills. Griff, as well as Vi’s father and brothers, worked at the Cargo Fleet Steel Company in Middlesboro, and so the move to Hamilton was natural enough.
Meanwhile, Vi’s brother Fred went from Cargo Fleet to Jessops Steel Company in Calcutta, India. He wrote fascinating letters back to the family during the four years he lived there, before he was tragically killed in an uprising at Jessops in 1949.
Her other sibling, Arthur, became an engineer, building paper mills all over the world. While Arthur, who was dyslexic, did not leave the legacy of letters Fred did, he did leave his considerable fortune to Vi when he died in the 1990s. Vi used Arthur’s money to support art and culture in the Hamilton area. She was a generous donor to the Hamilton Poetry Centre, the Bach Elgar Choir, the Bruce Trail Association, the John Laing Singers, IAMAT, and many others.
But perhaps the most touching monument she left was to publish Fred’s letters. They were published by West Meadow Press in 1996 under the title of Remember Me to Everybody: Letters from India, 1944 to 1949 by Frederick Gower Turnbull.
Vi died on February 3, 2012 and her ashes were scattered along the Bruce Trail.
– With thanks to Marc Castle.
You too, can sponsor an IAMAT scholar. Donate to the IAMAT Travel Medicine Scholarship Fund to provide scholars like Fredrick an opportunity to study and train in travel medicine or consider leaving a Legacy Gift like Violet Williams. Contact us for more information.