Key Biscayne Doctor brings expertise to Nairobi
Dr. Rafael Sequeira, a Key Biscayne resident and professor of medicine at the University of Miami, has for 16 years travelled back to his birthplace of Nairobi to contribute his services and help teach safe medicine.
Q: Why did you get involved with this hospital in particular?
A: I was born in Kisumu, Kenya. I did my medical studies in Dublin, Ireland and returned to Kenya in 1965. I then worked in the Government Health Service. We started a medical school at the Kenyatta National Public Hospital in 1968, the first in Kenya (we now have others). I was there at the start, so in a way I am returning to “my child.”
Q: You’ve been visiting there for the past 16 years. What do you do when at the hospital?
A: As a volunteer faculty member, I supervise ward rounds and spend much of my time with clinical teaching and giving theoretical lectures to Junior Faculty, residents, interns and medical students.
Q: What is you medical specialty?
A: I am Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology. I am on the faculty as a tenured professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, at the University of Miami.
Q: What is the biggest medical issue in Nairobi?
A: There are MANY issues and challenges. A lack of doctors, specialists, and resources, as well as immense poverty, are at the top. My goal has been and continues to train the young doctors to use clinical skills and their five senses to best treat their patients. Though modern technology we take for granted, such as CAT scans and MRIs, is available, most patients do not have access to it due to its cost. Furthermore, this technology is not readily available throughout the public hospital system of Nairobi or Kenya as a whole.
Q: What is your connection with Key Biscayne?
A: In 1979, based on my research in the UK, I was invited by the University of Miami Medical School to spend a one-year sabbatical in Miami. I rented a home in Key Biscayne. During that year my son, Raphael Gerard developed leukemia and was gravely ill. My family and I decided to stay here for his treatment, and the University of Miami offered me a faculty position. Unfortunately, Raphael died in 1989 following bone marrow transplantation, which he needed for a relapse. I have been here ever since.
Q: We hear you run marathons for charity...
A: Yes, I have completed 24 New York City Marathons and with generous annual pledges from my friends have raised over $240,000 for the Raphael Gerard Bone Marrow Fund. The proceeds of this fund are used to provide for the non-medical needs of pediatric patients with cancer, treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital and the University of Miami Hospital. I will be at the starting line again this year.