The number of heart specialist doctors
in Kenya and the region is set to increase and ultimately improve care for
patients suffering from heart diseases thanks to a Cardiology Training
Fellowship Programme started by Aga Khan University Hospital to train qualified
physicians in the specialty.
The University Hospital is currently
the only one offering a structured curriculum-based programme in
cardiology in the region.
To be admitted to this highly
competitive and intense programme, candidates should possess a
Master of Medicine degree or an equivalent Royal College of
The training entails multiple
rotations in five core areas of practice including inpatient
rotations, outpatient rotations, imaging rotations, cardiac
catheterization laboratory and completion of a research project
before completion of the programme.
“For the first time in Kenya, we are
now able to train cardiologists to conduct complex procedures in
heart medicine including implantation of heart devices and
procedures related to haemodynamics (blood pressure evaluation
in heart chambers) monitoring in very sick patients.
Physicians interested in pursuing a
cardiology specialisation don’t have to leave the country as
they have a capable and equivalent facility locally.”
“Training is hands-on with a dedicated
team of consultant cardiologists who are widely involved in
research to improve existing care models and innovations in
methods of care delivery.
“Fellows are trained on how to conduct
and interpret different cardiology imaging modalities including
echocardiography, cardiac MRI, cardiac CT scan and nuclear
imaging to make diagnosis”, says Dr Mzee Ngunga, Director,
Cardiology Fellowship Programme and Consultant Interventional
Cardiologist at Aga Khan University Hospital.
The three year training programme
curriculum is tailored for Africa with a bit of borrowing from
North America particularly on fellow evaluation and assessment.
Currently three fellows are undergoing
the programme with a fourth one expected to join in mid 2018.
“This is the first recognised
fellowship programme in cardiology in the region and its
uniqueness stems from the fact that our fellows undergo a
structured and curriculum-based programme that models them into
a well rounded cardiologist that can deliver care to patients in
a dynamic and challenging environment in Africa”, says Dr
Mohamed Jeilan, Director, Cardiology Services at the hospital.
According to Dr Ngunga, currently with
a population of 48 million, Kenya has only about 40
cardiologists, most of whom practice in Nairobi and the other
few in Kisumu and Mombasa which unfortunately leaves the rest of
the population with long distances to travel to access care.
This means every cardiologist attends
to 1.2 million Kenyans, a dire deficit the fellowship programme
is aiming to address.
Cardiovascular disease including heart
disease and stroke, is the world’s number one killer.
Each year, it’s responsible for 17.5
million deaths and by 2030 this is expected to rise to 23
In Africa, the latest projections
suggest that by 2030 more people will die from cardiovascular
disease than from any other cause of death.
The rate of progression in this
condition is both remarkable and alarming.
The fact that Kenyans in their
twenties and thirties are now experiencing heart attacks means
we can no longer afford to ignore the growing risk of heart
disease and need to have adequate and capable cardiac personnel
to handle the challenges ahead.
Kenya now joins other few African
countries offering the programme like Egypt, South Africa and