“I had been invited in 2010 to visit Baraka Health Clinic, a Free the Children clinic
in the Narok South District of Kenya that was then less than one year old. While
visiting native patients’ homes in the Masai region, I saw a lethargic young boy
sitting in his mother’s lap and was told he had contracted typhoid. When I asked
what type of treatment he received and heard ‘none, he will probably die soon,’
I was appalled,” she recalls.
The main obstacle to treatment was that the boy’s mother was unable to leave
her eight other children to make the full-day walk to Baraka clinic.
“I called Rob from Kenya that evening at 4 a.m. while standing in the rain, and he
agreed that this situation was just not right. When he later made a trip to visit the
clinic to help provide medical care, he and I decided that we had to find a way to
raise enough money to help fund and build a second clinic.”
Before Anne, who today is president and CEO of Midmark Corporation, a
multinational medical manufacturing company, took on the fundraising task,
she stipulated that the new clinic would host visiting College of Medicine and
other OSU Health Sciences students. She and her husband, Rob, who practices
in Versailles, Ohio, envisioned safe, predictable and sustainable rotations for
a multidisciplinary mix of OSU students who would gain an understanding of
the need for global health care while providing dentistry, nutrition education
and medical care, among other services. To make that vision a reality, they
established the $100,000 Anne E. Klamar and Rob Klamar Global Health Fund to
provide student travel stipends.
Just three years after the Klamar’s late night, international phone conversation,
the Kishon Clinic – built nearly on the spot where Anne encountered the dying
boy – became operational in 2013. “With a building donated by a Swedish
non-profit, and the philosophic and strategic synergy of the Free the Children
organization, not only do the people of the Masai region now have access to
health care that is financially sustainable and fully functional, but OSU students
also have the opportunity to bring health care to these gentle people,” Rob says.
“We are grateful to Dan Sedmak, MD, and the staff of the OSU Office of Global
Health for helping us bring the global healthcare program and the student travel
stipend program to fruition,” says Anne. “Both Rob and I feel such a debt of gratitude
to the College of Medicine, we wanted to give back and/or pay forward in
some way that would not only provide an empowering experience for medical
students, but also create good for the beautiful people of Kenya,” she adds.
“If our story inspires other alumni to also find a way to give back, then we are
that much more blessed and very thankful.”
In Swahili, the main language spoken
in Kenya, Baraka means “Blessing” and
Kishon means “Thank you.”