It has been 4 years since my feet last touched African soil and I could not be happier to be back! [Insert perma-smile]. Coming to the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) at Texas Children’s Hospital site feels like coming full circle. During the research year I spent in Houston at Texas Children’s, I would sit in on the monthly executive meetings for the BIPAI network of Centers of Excellence. In addition, before settling on my Boston Children’s/Partner’s in Health fellowship, I had seriously considered CHOP’s global health fellowship which would have placed me here in Gaborone operating out of the same hospital, Princess Marina, as part of the Botswana UPenn Partnership. So I come with some knowledge of the ex-pats working at the hospital through these partnerships.
BIPAI is incredibly supportive of individualizing the visiting scholars experience. In addition to seeing routine pediatric HIV/AIDS patients in the clinic, I will be participating in outreach missions around the country by prop plane. This outreach is supported by the government of Botswana in helping to support the care of challenging pediatric HIV/AIDS patients in rural areas of the nation, as there are currently only 5 Botswonian pediatricians in the nation. In addition, the outreach team consults on challenging cases on the wards while they are visiting, as each outreach site is visited by the BIPAI team once a month. Additionally, I will be
working with Texas Children’s Cancer Center’s oncologist, Dr. Jeremy Solone, and learning about the care and challenges of pediatric oncologic care in Botswana.
My trip started with a 24 hour stop in Johannesburg. Thanks to Dr. Collins, I have an extensive “must do” list for Jo’burg and I was able to chip away at a few items before I borded the evangelical bus to Gaborone! Lots of weekend adventures in the works and already in my first couple of days, many stories from the wards to come…