By LAURA TESTER
Dr. Victor Misiani Oteki is living his dream to treat less-fortunate people in the operating room.
Dr. Victor Oteki, centre, performs surgery on the leg of a girl named Faith in Kenya.
Oteki is based in Kisii, a major urban centre in Southwestern Kenya where he performs up to five to seven orthopedic surgeries each month for A Better World Canada. He treats patients with broken bones, even fire victims who need this specialized care.
“I am working with ABW as they can lessen the suffering of people,” says Oteki. “Back home, there are lots of people living in poverty, who barely can afford anything to eat, so how can they afford medical assistance?”
Oteki remembers first meeting ABW co-founder Eric Rajah, having supper together in a restaurant across from the Nairobi city hall. After that, their connection was solidified.
Dr. Victor Oteki (left) discusses ABW’s surgical program with ABW co-founder Eric Rajah.
Rajah said they took a special interest in the teenager, who regularly came with his father, who owns a water drilling company, on jobs to build water wells for ABW. The youth updated ABW leaders on all that he was doing and sometimes he met physicians that ABW was involved with.
“For more than 10 years, we kept in touch with Victor and included him in viewing our project work,” said Rajah. “And now he’s doing our orthopedic surgeries as a volunteer and he’s a local Kenyan.”
Rajah added that Oteki’s story is all about encouraging him and others at a young age to pursue their dreams of giving back to their country.
ABW aims to empower individuals through education, training, and direct investment. That way, Rajah says, they are better equipped to take care of their own country.
“The true success for development comes when local people have the skill and training and take the initiative to do that,” he said. “We ourselves didn’t really do that much for Oteki, except include him in our mission.”
Giving encouragement to Oteki years ago made way for a volunteer surgical program that continues year-round. Rajah said that Oteki’s involvement made a huge difference when the world went into lockdown with COVID-19 earlier in 2020 and beyond.
Volunteers from Canada and elsewhere haven’t been able to travel to support ABW’s surgical program due to the pandemic, Rajah said.
“We’ve especially seen the value here,” said Rajah.
ABW funds surgeries for children in Kenya, including one done on Faith in August 2020. Oteki said the orphaned teenager suffered a broken femur after relatives assaulted her.
She couldn’t afford any medical care, so ABW stepped in. It provided the money to buy an intramedullary nail that was used to stabilize Faith’s leg. Oteki performed the surgery and now the 16-year-old can walk, which he gives credit to ABW’s financial support.
Faith’s eyes are now open in the recovery room.
Oteki has a new vision and hope for Southwestern Kenya.
He’d like to equip the dispensary in his parent’s region of Nyamusi so that residents have safe baby deliveries and access to child immunizations.
Oteki would also like to “build up a great surgical facility here in Kisii where the less fortunate can get world class health care (surgical care).”