"Few books have mastered such a breadth of complex issues and done so in such clear and readily understandable prose. ...essential reading for every medical student and resident in the country, as well as anyone else who cares enough to address directly the health inequalities that plague so much of humanity."

-Robert Sparks, MD, Dean Emeritus Tulane University School of Medicine, President Emeritus and Senior Consultant for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, former Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, member Institute of Medicine.

Father Bill Fryda is a Catholic priest and Mayo Clinic–trained oncologist who has spent the past 25 years working in East Africa. He is featured along with six other exemplary health providers in Awakening Hippocrates: A Primer on Health, Poverty and Global Service (See New Books” Section). Since 1998 he, the Maryknoll Brothers and Sisters, and the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi have built St Mary’s Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya into one of the premiere hospitals in East Africa. St Mary’s is situated right next to the massive Kibera Slum in Nairobi, home to roughly 800,000 people living with no running water, sanitation, electricity, and, until recently, no decent medical care. St Mary’s primarily serves the poor of greater Nairobi and does so in a medical ministry setting that preserves patients’ dignity while providing competent, affordable care. I had the good fortune to live with Father Fryda for three months in the winter of 1994, and I know him well. Father/ Dr Fryda has followed a faith-based drive to provide care for the poor of Kenya, following in the example of Christ.

Father/ Dr. Fryda once said, “During my time here in East Africa, it became apparent to me that there was a crying need for lower-income people to have access to good, affordable health care within a Christian environment.” Starting in 1998, the founders raised $3.2 million (and counting) and purchased 10 acres of Karen Blix’s (Out of Africa fame) old coffee plantation, abutting the Ngong Forrest and across the street from the enormous Kibera Slum. St Mary’s was designed to be self-sufficient once bed occupancy reached 70%; it has run at above 100% occupancy since shortly after it opened. Its success has spawned plans for similar hospitals at two additional sites, which could ultimately bring 40% to 50% of Kenya’s population under St Mary’s expert care, truly a revolutionary model for health care in Africa. Father Fryda now spends most of his time at the recently completed “St Mary’s North” on a site in Elmenteita, near Lake Nakuru, northwest of Nairobi.

Since 2001, Omni Med has been an important partner to St Mary’s. Omni Med has sent several physicians and over $750,000 worth of medical supplies to St Mary’s, supplies that Father Fryda calls “critical.” Much of those supplies have been suture donated through the generosity of the Ethicon Corporation in New Jersey, though Omni Med has also helped to coordinate donations of dental equipment, two GI suites, other medical supplies, and library books.


CFC # 10999

Kenya is an East African country bordered by Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Population is 38 million; with average per capita income of $680; at least 50% live below the poverty line

Life expectancy is 56.6 years; one of every 18 infants dies before their first birthday; HIV/ AIDS prevalence is 6.7% of the adult population

Since 2001 Omni Med has been sending supplies and a handful of physicians, to St Mary’s Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. To date, these supplies have totaled over $750,000, mostly in the form of highly valued suture, used quickly in St Mary’s busy operating rooms. Other supplies have included complete dental operatories (chair, light, drills, etc.) and complete Gastroenterology suites (scopes, lights, support equipment, etc.). St Mary’s recently expanded to another full-service hospital in the Lake Elementita region of Western Kenya.