Evolving in Africa with AMPATH

Sue Mahony-1981-croppedToday’s guest post comes from Sue Mahony, senior vice president and president, Lilly Oncology, who is currently attending the AMPATH Partners Summit in Eldoret, Kenya. Since 2002, Lilly has donated over $80 million in products to treat cancer, diabetes and mental illness in western Kenya, and in October 2016, will send 13 employees as part of our Connecting Hearts Abroad program on skills-based assignments at the AMPATH Oncology Institute.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Today we saw an example of AMPATH's reach into the community and the innovation it uses when we visited a family in their home. It’s a one-room building made of stone that could barely fit five visitors. But a family of five lives there, with no running water or bathroom facilities. The purpose of the visit was to counsel the adults on health, with the focus being on AIDS testing and prevention of stomach worms. There, the counselor was able to input details of the conversation into his iPhone as part of a state-of-the-art medical management system that AMPATH has set up to be used throughout western Kenya. This allows them to use data to understand how best to help the population’s health and track progress in the making.

Building - 8-5-16Another example of innovation in the community is the establishment of groups of 15 to 30 members called GISHE (Group Integrated Saving for Health Empowerment). These groups work to improve the socio-economic status of vulnerable populations through resource mobilization. In short, people save the little they get and get access to credit through loaning. This lets people make loans to start businesses and creates an infrastructure for health care delivery. The vision is that these groups will eventually allow members the opportunity to purchase health care insurance. 

Having been here, I am even more convinced that our teammates who get the opportunity to spend time at AMPATH through our Connecting Hearts Abroad and Lilly Oncology programs will not only be able to help AMPATH, but will gain a great deal personally. One learning that AMPATH can give us is how people with so little can achieve so much. We get perspective on what really is important, namely the value and power of community. And we discern how to innovate, how to “fail forward” and learn from experiences. My short time in Kenya this week has shown what committed, passionate teams can achieve. It has been a trip well worth taking – and I will be back!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Our partnership with AMPATH is diverse and long-standing. Since 2002, Lilly has donated over $80 million in products, including medicines to treat mental illness, diabetes and cancer. In 2017, Lilly will reach the $100 million milestone in such donations to AMPATH.

Hematology CropIt is hard to describe the unmet need that exists in Western Kenya, the impact that AMPATH has and the value of these donations from Lilly. A patient diagnosed with cancer may need to wait two or three years for treatment. Mental illnesses are generally left undiagnosed, but when treated, Lilly donations are often the only drug treatment many patients with cancer and diabetes receive.

In addition to product donations, Lilly is partnering with AMPATH in diabetes and oncology, and through our Connecting Hearts Abroad program. The Lilly-AMPATH insulin partnership has led to the development of one of the largest home glucose monitoring programs in sub-Saharan Africa.

In oncology, along with the Lilly Foundation’s 2015 financial commitment of $1 million over four years to the AMPATH Oncology Institute (AOI), Lilly is also engaging its employees in AMPATH's work. This November, Lilly will send 10 employees from around the globe to the AOI through our Connecting Hearts Abroad program. These employees have been assigned projects that have been identified as current gaps within the AOI.

Additionally, three employees have been identified by Lilly Oncology leadership to develop recommendations for expanding Lilly Oncology’s engagement beyond a traditional two-week assignment, in a way that is mutually beneficial for both Lilly and AMPATH. Lilly Medical is also working on engagement opportunities for medical employees, with a pilot project planned for this November.

Opportunities for Lilly to partner with AMPATH are great given the unmet need that exists. This partner and the patients we serve greatly appreciate our support. For those of us who get the chance to see the work being done here, it is both humbling and inspirational.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

As I arrive in Eldoret, Kenya, I reflect on some of the remarkable achievements of the IU Kenya program. It all started in 1989, when Indiana University School of Medicine embarked upon a partnership with Moi University School of Medicine and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) here in Eldoret. In 2001, in response to the challenge of the HIV pandemic, this partnership created one of Africa's largest, most comprehensive and effective HIV/AIDS control systems, called the Academic Model for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS (or AMPATH). AMPATH now treats over 160,000 HIV-positive people at over 500 clinical sites through western Kenya.

ampath.mamlinAlmost 2,000 new patients are enrolled each month. AMPATH also reaches over half a million people through a home-based counseling and testing program that’s gaining acceptance into homes at a rate of 98 percent. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS has since decreased to lower than 2 percent. To say that’s remarkable doesn't do justice to these achievements.

Not satisfied with just helping people with HIV/AIDS, the AMPATH founders expanded their home-based model to address the critical needs of primary health, chronic disease and specialty care. AMPATH now has programs in place to address agriculture and nutrition; maternal and child health; communicable diseases; primary care and chronic disease; and social and mental health. The AMPATH consortium now serves a population of 3.5 million people, and its name now stands for Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare.

AMPATH is also tackling cancer, which ranks third as a major cause of death in Kenya after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases. The AMPATH Oncology Institute (AOI) was launched in 2009, with a single physician. As one of only two cancer centers in Kenya, it now accommodates approximately 1,200 cancer patients and 1,000 breast and cervical cancer screenings a month.

My visit to Eldoret is to build on the partnership we have with AMPATH and Lilly, especially as it relates to cancer. Over the next week, as I see for myself the work that is being done and the work that is yet to be done, I will share more details about our partnership, the opportunities and the great work that these people are doing to help patients. 


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