During the months of August, September, and October 2016, the health program successfully conducted a total of 9 mobile outreaches in the remote villages of Turkana. Activities in the Lodwar Clinic have continued successfully with additional medicines supplied by the county government and Lodwar County & Referral Hospital. Activities performed during the mobile outreaches include:
Approximately 187,500 of the people in our target population are men, women, and children who live in the remote, inaccessible areas of Turkana county and have no access to medical care. Additionally, the nomadic nature of the Turkana tribe causes the people of these villages to migrate about every 4 months and a new group of villagers arrives about every 4 months; therefore, we are providing service to more than the estimated population of persons living in each village at one time. Most of this rural population depends on herbs and witch doctors for medical services. The project has safeguarded these community members from herbal poisoning and the dubious, expensive medical attention of witch doctors.
We provide medicines for the target population, lowering mortality rates through free and regular treatment of diseases like malaria, respiratory diseases, diarrheal diseases, skin conditions, and eye conditions, which are linked to high mortality rates throughout Africa, including Turkana, Kenya. In this quarter, the project has treated a total of 9,031 cases.
Because of our presence, children under five and pregnant mothers can now access vaccination services in the remote villages of Turkana, hence acquiring herd immunity against prevalent diseases. By improving immunization coverage, RFM/MMI/SIHP’s project helps achieve the government goal of providing preventive health care to at-risk populations, which include children under five and pregnant women. A total of 89 children benefited from our immunization program during this reporting period.
On every working day, either through mobile outreach clinics or Lodwar Clinic, Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) have a responsibility to disseminate key messages concerning disease prevention through public health education sessions. This enlightens and empowers the community to take initiative to improve their health, hence preventing a wide range of diseases. In this quarter, 60 public health education sessions were carried out, covering all patients treated: 7,790.
The project has been able to provide emergency referral services to needy patients using the program’s ambulance. This gives patients an exceptional opportunity to access advanced medical care such as HAART services, TB treatment, cancer treatment, eye surgery, delivery services, physiotherapy, and other laboratory services which Lodwar Clinic cannot offer with ease. In this quarter, the project was able to refer 12 patients to Lodwar County & Referral Hospital for further medical care.
Patients coming to RMF/MMI/SIHP’s clinic for medical attention receive laboratory diagnostic services. This improves accuracy and quality of service to the program’s target beneficiaries. Part of the diagnostic testing done on a daily basis includes HIV testing and counseling. For HIV screening, 101 clients were tested and 4 were HIV-positive; they were referred to Lodwar County & Referral Hospital for HAART. In this quarter, 2,553 patients were tested for various diseases and 1,600 indicated positive results.
The project is widely appreciated in the Turkana region, and many people prefer Lodwar Clinic or our mobile clinics to the region’s few other health facilities.
In addition to the steadfast support of RMF/MMI, the project is now benefiting from other partners, including the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics Aid Foundation (EGPAF), which recruited and deployed 2 staff members to the clinic. They arrived in May 2016 and were with us until September 19th, 2016. The Turkana county government has also deployed 4 community health extension workers (CHEWs) and 1 laboratory technician to the Lodwar Clinic. The county government also reinstated 1 staff member in the clinic and redeployed 1 staff member from the clinic to other facilities towards the end of October 2016.
After responding to a September 7th, 2009 NY Times article by Jeffrey Gettleman, which highlighted the life threatening impact of the drought in Northern Kenya, Real Medicine Foundation coordinated a supply chain for water and food aid, and medical support to the region. We were able to provide a 4-week supply of food and water to 4,500 persons in severely drought affected regions of Turkana, Kenya where it had not rained in 4 years.
Jackson is married with 4 children. On July 19, 2016, our team identified Jackson as a patient who had been living with cancer for over 3 years due to a lack of referral funds. Through the support of RMF/MMI/SHIP, Jackson has been receiving treatment in Eldoret since July 25th, 2016. In September, the project facilitated Jackson’s referral back home. He was discharged on September 26th, 2016 and flown back to Lodwar the next day. Jackson’s condition was a little improved, though not as much as expected. The patient at some point was not adhering to treatment, as reported by the doctors involved in managing his case. In addition, the doctor had given Jackson a two-week return appointment, which was shared with the family members, together with home care for the patient. The family members were willing to offer home care to the patient to the best of their ability, but they clearly announced that they are financially challenged and are not able to pay for follow-up visits. However, they were very grateful for the treatment Jackson has received and the medical bill of KSh. 508,000 which was covered by RMF-supported Share International.
Lodwar Clinic provides two weekly corn soy blend (CSB) supplements and Plumpy Nut (RUTF – Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food) to Jackson to support him in regaining his strength. In addition, the nurse in charge liaises with Jackson’s family members regularly by phone and conducts home visits to the patient when needed, to assess and support the home care given to the patient by family members after the initial visit.