Thomas Letchford, 2014, Undeclared

Working with the Africa Inland Church (AIC) Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya, and with an ­undergraduate student from Yale University, I researched the extent of Maasai ­community knowledge regarding the potential toxicities of the traditional medicine. AIC Kijabe ­Hospital and hospitals throughout East Africa have often struggled to treat patients that have taken some form of traditional medicine and been ­accidentally ­poisoned. My ­colleague and I travelled through two different areas, administering ­surveys we had drafted to both traditional healers and general community members. We investigated specific herbs with known potential toxicities, as well as various pieces of other ­demographic information, in an attempt to understand the thinking behind the continued use of traditional medicine among 21st century Maasai. Under the guidance of several physicians at the hospital, we put our findings into a paper, which we hope will provide a platform for further work in this field. The project exposed me to study design and field research, and has continued to feed my desire to be involved in healthcare in the developing world.