Fredrick Chite Asirwa, MD: A mentor who believes in you is incredible!

By Fredrick Chite Asirwa, MD

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Fredrick Chite is a Chief Medical Oncologist and Hematologist leading Global Cancer Control programs in Sub-Saharan Africa. He also worked as the Director of AMPATH Oncology and Hematology, Kenya from 2011 to June 2019.

In 2016, when he mooted the idea of establishing a telemedicine center at the Public National Referral Hospital in Eldoret, he was met with resistance. Some were valid concerns.


His U.S colleagues had several concerns too.

  • There was no stable internet connection at the time
  • Fredrick had no trained IT staff to troubleshoot the system
  • There were no funds for the telemedicine infrastructure, including the space partitioning
  • The HCPs were not trained on telemedicine use and so it wouldn’t be fully utilized.
  • Fredrick did not have a list or idea of potential Kenyan vendors
  • The market was not ready… pipe dream much!

His Kenyan colleagues had concerns too.

  • There were no funds and the budget for the project
  • There was no project implementation plan
  • This had been tried and failed before, why did he think he was going to succeed
  • There was no staff for the project
  • There were internet issues and many more issues

Fredrick and other friends held multiple meetings to “convince” the two teams to allow him to develop the project. One day, speaking to his mentor and registering his frustrations, the mentor said, “I know you can do it. Just do it.” That is how Fredrick executed his idea.

A mentor who believes in you is incredible! ~ Fredrick Chite Asirwa MD

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