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A Piece of My Mind |

Vaccine, Please

Donna Scurlock, MD
JAMA. 2010;304(3):250-251. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.751.
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At the Patient Support Center in the Luo region of Kenya, “Eunice” arrives for her routine monthly checkup. She makes minimal eye contact, and when answering the usual follow-up questions about her health status as a person living with HIV, her responses are lifeless and monosyllabic.

Her medical records, like those of all the patients, are filed by the patient's first name, because here in rural southwestern Kenya, most last names begin with O or A. The patients are assigned identifying numbers as well, but the use of first names for identification seems appropriate because they are family, friends, and neighbors, and the nurse in charge seems to know them all.

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