IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|

Travel Health Journal

IAMAT Scholars in Action: Meet Jackson and Gordon!

We are very pleased to introduce our latest IAMAT Scholars, Mr. Jackson Mutisya and Dr. Gordon Amoh!

Mr. Jackson Mutisya was awarded the 2020 Violet Williams Scholar (delayed attendance due to COVID pandemic). Jackson currently practices as a nurse in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Gordon Amoh was awarded the 2021 – and first ever – Robert Haru Fisher Scholarship. He is a practicing doctor in Accra, Ghana.

IAMAT Scholarships provide training in travel medicine to practitioners who are passionate about improving care for local patients and travellers in their community. Our Scholarships strive to increase the capacity of local health services so that everyone has access to safe and reliable healthcare, no matter who or where they are.

For their scholarship training, both Jackson and Gordon travelled to Johannesburg to train with the South African Society of Travel Medicine (SASTM) and participate in clinical observations at the Travel Doctor Clinic.

We caught up with Jackson and Gordon to learn about their IAMAT scholarship experiences.

Why travel medicine?

“Travel medicine is an important field that is hugely underappreciated and not well understood in my country, [Kenya].” Jackson explains.

For Gordon, studying travel medicine excites him due to the “limitless opportunities” that exist in the field as it emerges as a new practice in his home country of Ghana. As Gordon explains, “Travel medicine is one of the Special interest areas at the Fellowship level but there is no curriculum and no experts to lead this fellowship track [in Ghana].”

This is where Gordon intends to use his IAMAT scholarship training to advance travel medicine.

Expanding Travel Medicine Back Home

Using his scholarship training to support his passion for expanding travel medicine, Gordon intends to “leverage [his] skillset acquired from the travel medicine course” to advance his mission of building the Travel Medicine Fellowship track for healthcare professionals in Ghana.

In Kenya, Jackson believes that collaboration may be the key to advancing the field of travel medicine.

“I believe with collaboration, we can all achieve great milestones in establishing travel medicine in sub Saharan Africa.” He says.

Applying IAMAT Scholarship Training

According to Gordon, during his IAMAT scholarship training, he learned many new skills which he can apply in his practice as a doctor to treat and consult with his travelling patients more carefully.

“I have learnt to consider issues such as the destination-specific epidemiology of the disease, duration of exposure to the infective mosquito bites as well as factors that can potentially affect the immune response of the traveller. These factors are necessary to enable me to decide on whether to provide the yellow fever vaccine or not…to avoid potential serious side effects from the vaccine.” Gordon tells IAMAT.

Further, he explains that he “intends to collaborate with strategic partners to set up a travel clinic in Accra that will address the needs of travellers travelling into and outside of Ghana.” He also intends to conduct research which the aim of making travel more safe and promoting the well-being of travellers.

In the long-term, Gordon hopes to establish a travel medicine a society in Ghana, “to guide the practice of travel medicine in Ghana and liaise with government and other authorities in all endeavours related to travel medicine in Ghana.” He says.

Meanwhile, Jackson is already focused on his post-training plans for his practice as a nurse in travel medicine.

“[I] plan to introduce standardized patient evaluation of all pre-travellers, VFR’s (travellers visiting friends and relatives) and post travellers that is all inclusive with a focus on client education and preventative medicine.”

He explains that his IAMAT scholarship training has given him “a fresh new perspective” in his career.

“I now cannot wait to share my knowledge, skills and experiences with my colleagues and students. Most importantly, with this training and the revamping of our travel association, I feel more empowered to go out and lobby for, and engage with relevant policy changes, as well as help create a local travel medicine network within the larger East African region.” Jackson says.

Supporting future IAMAT Scholars

IAMAT Travel Medicine Scholarships make training accessible to doctors and nurses in countries where travel medicine is an emerging practice. It’s the only program of its kind that offers scholarships to support health practitioners to train in travel medicine.

Our Scholars show leadership in their field and have the capacity and passion to spread travel medicine in their clinic, community, and in their country. Scholars like Jackson and Gordon improve local health systems by implementing and sharing the travel medicine best practices they learn during their scholarship training and observations.

To learn more about our scholarships and how you can support the next IAMAT Scholar, check out:IAMAT Scholarships.