Dr. Dan Poenaru


After several years as Medical Director for BethanyKids Dan has relinquished that position and is providing consulting services to BethanyKids from Montreal, Canada.

Following medical school studies in Toronto, Canada, he trained in general surgery at McGill University, then in pediatric surgery at the Université de Montreal. He has also earned a Masters in Health Professions Education through the University of Illinois in Chicago and a Doctorate in Health Strategy & Management from Erasmus University, Rotterdam. He has practiced academic surgery for 10 years in Kingston, Canada, then for 12 years in East Africa, and since 2015 in Montreal.

Dan’s roles in Africa include: clinical & medical educational consultant for BethanyKids, research committee chair for the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS), dean of Université Shalom Faculté de Medicine, director at large of the Global Initiative for Children’s Surgery (GICS), and educational consultant in the Horn of Africa. His areas of interest are academic global pediatric surgery, equity in provision of surgical care for children in low-resource settings, patient-centered care, faith issues in clinical practice, and medical education.

Dan is married to Dita who is a nursing clinician and educator. The Poenarus have two adult sons.

Dr. Erik Hansen

BethanyKids, AIC Kijabe Hospital, Kenya

Erik graduated with a BS (chemistry) from Wheaton College in Illinois and then earned his MD from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. He trained in general surgery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, and then pediatric surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Alabama in conjunction with the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

In the beginning of 2008, Erik and his wife, Amanda, felt God calling them to Africa. Through a prayerful process and key encounters with people like Dr. Dan Poenaru, God led them to BethanyKids at AIC Kijabe Hospital, a place where Erik could use his own pediatric surgery training to train African pediatric surgeons, in an African context, so that the work of caring for the surgical needs of children in Africa can be multiplied.

Dr. Ken Muma

BethanyKids, AIC Kijabe Hospital, Kenya

Dr. Ken Muma is from the city of Mombasa, Kenya. He is married to Dr. Sarah Muma, and blessed with two children. He did both his Bachelor degree in Medicine and Master of Medicine in General Surgery at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He later enrolled for a three-year fellowship in Pediatric surgery with the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA), and graduated in 2015 becoming BethanyKids’ first Kenyan-trained Pediatric surgeon.

His passion for pediatric surgery is derived from his love for children and surgery. He is living his dream as he trains pediatric surgeons at BethanyKids – Kijabe Hospital. He believes that there is a strong need to build capacity in surgical discipline.

Dr. Frehun Ayele

BethanyKids, Myungsung Christian Medical Center, Ethiopia

After completing training in general surgery through the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS) program in Soddo, Ethiopia, Frehun trained in pediatric surgery at BethanyKids at Kijabe Hospital. In December, 2012 he successfully passed both parts of the FCS (Fellow of College of Surgery) exam for the College of Surgeons for East, Central and South Africa (COSECSA), becoming the first pediatric surgeon to graduate through COSECSA. In late 2012, Frehun joined with his mentor, Dr. Dan Poenaru, to establish a new pediatric surgical service in Ethiopia. Frehun is teaching at the new medical school associated with Myungsung Christian Medical Center, and accepts PAACS residents for rotations in pediatric surgery.

Dr. Heuric Rakotomalala

BethanyKids, Manambaro Lutheran Hospital, Madagascar

After training and practicing as a missionary in Cameroon, Heuric became BethanyKids’ first pediatric surgical trainee. He began working as a pediatric surgeon at SALFA Lutheran Hospital in Antanimalandy (HSLA), northern Madagascar in April 2011. Through Dr. Heuric’s leadership, the small hospital set aside 10 of its 48 beds for surgical work to give priority to children with surgical needs. In 2014 Dr. Heuric moved to the opposite end of the island, starting work with his wife at Manambaro Lutheran Hospital near Fort Dauphin. In the absence of other pediatric surgical specialists in the region, Dr. Heuric’s practice includes children’s orthopedics, neurosurgery, urology and plastic surgery. He is also a very fervent evangelist, and the Rakotomalalas see themselves as true missionaries in their remote Madagascar setting.

Dr. Martin Situma

BethanyKids, Mbarara University Teaching Hospital, Uganda

Martin is a native of Uganda.  He attended Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, where he first received his medical degree and then went on to complete his Masters of Medicine in Surgery. He graduated from his pediatric surgery training program in December 2013.  He opened BethanyKids Uganda in early 2014 at Mbarara University Teaching Hospital in Mbarara, Uganda.

Martin is a faithful Christian with an active and living faith. His own testimony expresses this well: “God has shown me through lack of money that real wealth is in revelation of His word to me. He will always provide sufficiently. In this we always look to Him as the source. In His presence is the fullness of joy and at His right side are pleasures evermore. Jesus Christ faced all manner of temptations and challenges. He is therefore able to sympathize with our weaknesses. In my life, through sickness, disappointment, lack of money, loss and failure, I sympathize with people going through similar challenges. You will therefore be a better advocate for them, because you have moved in the same path and overcome. Above all, I have learnt more about the love of God, which is immeasurable!”

Dr. Aiah Lebbie

BethanyKids, Holy Spirit Hospital, Sierra Leone

Aiah is a native of Sierra Leone and a general surgery 2010 graduate of the PAACS program in Mbingo, Cameroon.  In November 2013 he graduated from the BethanyKids pediatric surgery training program.  In early 2014 he and his family returned to their home country.  He is the first formally trained pediatric surgeon in his country. He told us, “I believe that my going back to Sierra Leone with my family will prove to have a significant impact on children with surgical conditions.”
Dr. Leland Albright & Susan Ferson

Leland moved to Kijabe on September 1, 2010, to do and teach pediatric neurosurgery. He had come to BethanyKids at Kijabe Hospital for two to three weeks a year for the previous decade. In 2008, he and his wife, Susan Ferson, a pediatric neurosurgery nurse practitioner, felt God calling them to come full time to Kijabe. He graduated from LSU Medical School in 1969, did nine years of training thereafter, then was a pediatric neurosurgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh from 1981-2006, and chief of pediatric neurosurgery from 1991-2004. He moved to the University of Wisconsin from 2006-2010. He is the senior editor of the textbook, Principles and Practice of Pediatric Neurosurgery and has lectured and operated throughout the world. In Kijabe, he has trained pediatric neurosurgery fellows and neurosurgery residents. Leland and Susan’s plan was to work in Kijabe for five to six years until a Kenyan pediatric neurosurgeon would be employed at Kijabe Hospital to continue their work, and during that time, to express the love of Christ for the children who come to BethanyKids at Kijabe Hospital.

Leland has retired from surgical work with BethanyKids due to health reasons, but continues in an advisory and support role to advance the the mission and ministry of BethanyKids. Leland and his wife, Susan, are available to speak on behalf of BethanyKids at events and fundraisers. Please contact Terri Davis ([email protected]) to inquire about scheduling Leland and Susan for your event.