Kenya: Lodwar Clinic and Turkana Drought Relief and Mobile Medical Outreach Project
Preventative Health Care for At-Risk Populations: Q2 2016
September 09, 2016
Romano K. Funo and Deanna Boulard
Summary of Activities
During the months of April, May, June, and July 2016, the health program successfully conducted 30 mobile outreaches in the remote villages of Turkana, including 2016 STORM medical outreaches.
Drugs were purchased from a Nairobi pharmaceutical company (MEDS) in the months of April and May, and a large order was filled in June to supply the 2016 STORM operation. These drugs were used during mobile outreaches and STORM outreaches. The clinic staff continues to maintain thorough medicine inventory records.
In May 2016, two of our staff members participated in a program to distribute long acting reversible contraceptives (LARC). The program was carried out by the Kenyan Ministry of Health (MOH) and Kenyatta University as an implementing agency.
One more staff member underwent training on integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI). Additionally, in July 2016, another staff member was trained on TB treatment and care with support from the Kenyan Ministry of Health (MOH).
From July 16, 2016 to July 22, 2016, some of our team members were involved in mass treatment of populations during this year’s STORM. Enough drugs were purchased from a Nairobi pharmaceutical company (MEDS) to cover general health problems, including eye conditions, throughout the 2016 STORM period.
Laboratory diagnostics and Services
We provide medicines which lowers mortality rates through free and regular treatment of diseases like malaria, respiratory diseases, diarrheal diseases, skin conditions, and eye conditions. In this quarter, the project has treated a total of 16,305 cases.
2,516 laboratory tests were performed in Lodwar Clinic, improving the quality of services offered to patients.
317 patients were offered HIV testing and counseling- 39 patients tested HIV-positive. They were referred to Lodwar County & Referral Hospital for HAART.
Preventive Health Care for At-Risk Populations
Immunization and Deworming
Children under five and pregnant mothers can now access vaccination services in the remote villages of Turkana, therefore acquiring herd immunity against prevalent diseases.
407 children were immunized during this reporting period.
Along with a nationwide intervention by the Kenyan Ministry of Health, 12,784 targeted beneficiaries were immunized for rubella and measles. Our target had been 2,000 children.
713 children were dewormed during this period.
Education and Outreach
Meeting Villagers Where They Are
Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWs) disseminated key messages concerning disease prevention through public health education sessions, enlightening and empowering the community to take initiative to improve their health and prevent disease.
- 81 public health education sessions were carried out covering all patients treated, 11,728.
- 119 women of reproductive age received antenatal and family planning services.
- 541 children and mothers benefitted from our nutrition program.
- 30 mobile outreaches in the remote villages of Turkana we successfully conducted.
- 22 home visits/hospice services were provided to needy (seriously ill, living with a disability, or elderly) community members.
Meeting the Needs of a Rural Population
Safeguarding Against Herbs and Witch Doctors
Approximately 187,500 villagers live in remote, inaccessible areas of Turkana county and have no access to medical care. Due to the nomadic nature of the Turkana tribe, people of these villages migrate about every 4 months while a new group of villagers arrives about every 4 months; therefore, we are providing services 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 protected these community members from herbal poisoning and the dubious, expensive medical attention of witch doctors.
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
Click to enlarge
By Romano Funo
Jackson Ipasu is a 40-year-old man, 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. His caretakers reported that they had spent over KSh. 30,000 on previous treatment attempts without success. Now they had no remaining money for treatment. With the support of Dr. Sammy, our team mobilized KSh. 130,000 to refer Jackson to Eldoret for medical assessment during the 2016 STORM. Jackson was referred to Eldoret on July 24, 2016 and arrived in Eldoret on July 25, 2016.
After completing all of the necessary pathological, radiological, and laboratory investigations, the doctor diagnosed Jackson with cancer, left lytic bone destruction, anemia, and sepsis. He needed emergency admission for intravenous treatment, further investigation, and palliative care to regain lost consciousness and health status.
Jackson was admitted to the Alexandria Cancer Centre in Eldoret despite the down payment of KSh. 35,000 requested by the doctor in charge. After a lengthy discussion between our staff member, Romano, and Dr. Melly, the cancer center’s owner and lead physician, they agreed that the patient would begin treatment while information was taken to the referral point for mobilization of admission charges approximated at KSh. 480,000.
On July 29, 2016, Romano Funo placed a phone call to follow up with both Jackson and Dr. Melly in the Alexandria Cancer Centre. Romano was able to confirm that Jackson was continuing with treatment. He also learned that the doctor had found erosion in some of Jackson’s vertebral boney tissues. The consultant doctor was called to do another MRI for the vertebral column. The consultant doctors are more optimistic of recovery and improvements. Plans are underway to visit Jackson once again in Eldoret for follow-up reasons and to provide psychosocial support. Plans are also underway to mobilize funds for admission costs from any willing well-wishers. This life-changing support is available to the region’s community members through our mobile clinics and Lodwar Clinic.