What is Watsi?


The mission of AIC Kijabe hospital is to provide compassionate health care to God’s glory.  Compassion can be a vague term, but there are very concrete ways that compassionate care is offered at Kijabe.

One way of offering compassionate health care is by providing services which are “fair and transparent,” as a patient described them.  We don’t treat unnecessarily or offer expensive procedures to make extra money.  As much as it is possible, our doctors, nurses, and translators seek to explain to patients how treatment works, possible risks, and the costs of treatment.

Another way of offering compassionate health care is to treat patients first and sort out payment later.  The hospital’s mandate from the African Inland Church is to care for the poor and needy of Kenya.  So a patient does not have to show up at Kijabe with a deposit in order to receive treatment.  In fact, often times it is much the opposite, the patient or family will arrive at Kijabe with no idea how they will pay.

Consequently, partnerships are vital in providing assistance with patient bills.  Even though fees are minuscule compared to those in Western countries, with 40% nationwide unemployment and average annual salary around $1260 (USD), for some patients any treatment can be cost-prohibitive.  Most patients will receive support from family and their local community/church.  Others will find a sponsor/benefactor from the local community or a local aid organization.  Others through an amazing non-profit called Watsi.

Hundreds of surgery patients at Kijabe receive support through Watsi, a crowd-funding platform based in California that offers assistance with surgical care in developing nations.  A donor can view patients and their brief story and offer to pay for treatment, funding is sent to Kijabe through Africa Mission Health Care Foundation (AMHF), and the patient has surgery.

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Watsi is a very important partner for needy patients at Kijabe, as the surgeries funded are vital to quality of life.  For example, Watsi would provide funding for an inguinal hernia repair for Baby Brian or fund orthopedic repair on the ankle of a local mzee. Other patients might be children with hydrocephalaeus or encephalocele, who will have a great chance at a normal life if they are able to receive surgery, but a poor long-term prognosis if they do not.

Erik Hansen, head of Pediatric Surgery for Bethany Kids at Kijabe Hospital, explains, “Watsi is a God-send to help us treat so many more kids with diseases that are correctable and give them a better quality of life.”

We are so grateful to Watsi and AMHF for partnering with us to offer compassionate care in ENT, Orthopaedic, Neurosurgery, Pediatric Surgery, and now even hearing aids.  The lives of the needy patients of Kenya and surrounding countries who come to us for care will forever be changed.  Asante sana!

Please visit www.watsi.org for more information.