“We can’t fix the world, but we can make it better.”
Greater Southern Alameda Area
Moved by what she witnessed on a trip to Kenya, Gail Wagner, MD galvanized her colleagues to bring treatment, training, and equipment to Ugenya, one of the country’s most neglected regions, where AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis run rampant.
“There was an overwhelming need for medical care. And I knew we could make a difference,” says Dr. Wagner, who is the founder of “Matibabu” (‘treatment’ in Swahili), a nonprofit foundation that is building sustainable health, family, and community services in rural Kenya.
Four years ago, Dr. Wagner traveled to Kenya where she met Dan Ogola, a passionate community organizer whose work with street kids compelled her to get involved. When Dan told her about the miserable conditions of Ugenya – where 40% of the population was infected with AIDS – she knew where to start.
In 2004, Dr. Wagner assembled a team of eight Kaiser Permanente physicians who spent their vacation running clinics. “On the first day, there was a line of over 1,000 patients,” says Dr. Wagner. Within ten days, 5,000 people were treated. Each year, the scope of the mission has broadened to include health care training and the establishment of the Matibabu Clinic, with a dedicated physician, medical staff, working lab, and pharmacy.
“We can’t fix the world,” says Dr. Wagner. “But in this one little place, we can make it better.”