Kenya: Lodwar Clinic and Turkana Drought Relief and Mobile Medical Outreach Project
9 Successful Mobile Outreaches Completed: Q3 2016
November 05, 2016
Romano K. Funo
Summary of Activities
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:
- Treatment of sick patients
- Emergency referral of patients
- Home visitation/hospice services
- Provision of food supplements to needy patients in villages
- Public health education to all patients/community members
- Antenatal and family planning care services
- Children immunized
- Children received nutritional supplements
- Pregnant and lactating mothers who received nutritional support
Reaching a Rural Population
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.
Treatment of Common Diseases
Lower Mortality Rate
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.
Acquiring Herd Immunity
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.
Advanced Medical Care
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.
Quality Care and Service
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.
Reputation and Partnerships
Friends Helping Friends Helping Friends
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.
- Provide Medicines and Medical supplies to meet the needs of the targeted population
- Increase Mobile/Outreach Clinics in the remote villages
- Provide Medical Services at the Health Facility in Lodwar Town:
- Supporting the physical/medical needs of the targeted population
- Home visiting
- Referrals of patients needing advanced care to tertiary care hospital, and HIV and TB government clinics
- Teaching about and providing nutritious food
Daudi was brought to Lodwar Clinic on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by two other young boys. Daudi sustained head injuries as a result of his mother throwing stones on him while he was trying to protect his 7-year-old sister from being bitten by their mother. The boy reported that his mother has a mental disorder and walks aimlessly along the streets of Lodwar collecting litter. He further reported that his father is said to have died a long time ago, and he could not recall when. From our medical examination, we found that Daudi’s skull was intact, but he had superficial scalp injuries with some bleeding.
The good Samaritans who brought Daudi to Lodwar Clinic for treatment knew and trusted the work done by the RMF-supported program. One of the two boys said, "We knew that Lodwar Health Clinic treats everyone poor person either with or without money and that is why we brought him." Daudi’s injuries were sutured and he was given treatment and trauma counseling and asked to come back after one week for removal of the stitches. Further, the nurse in charge took a brief social history and discovered that Daudi does not go to school and is being employed at a car wash. He is being paid KSh 100 daily after work, which allows him to buy food. In addition, the boy sleeps in the corridors of shops next to the car wash. Based on his social history, Daudi needs basic support in an orphanage or children’s home. The nurse in charge of the program is looking into some children’s homes in the area for the boy’s support. This is how much the project has earned a positive image from the target community as a result of positively impacting their lives.
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.