Kenya: Mobile Health Outreach to Villages in Turkana

September 25, 2012

Derrick Lowoto

Project Background:

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.

Photo: Patients waiting to be seen in Nayuu Village

Since December of 2009, RMF has had a long term partnership with Share International supporting the only clinic in Lodwar, Turkana’s capital, with a population of almost 30,000 as well as expanding medical outreach programs and mobile clinics, and food and water aid where needed. Funding from Medical Mission International (MMI) made it possible to significantly enlarge this program at the beginning of 2010.

In addition to RMF’s long term support of the Lodwar Clinic, we expanded our medical outreach programs and the frequency of our mobile clinics this past year, and are now reaching 16 villages and a target population of 55,300. An average of 1,300 patients is seen by the mobile clinic teams every month, and over 300 patients per month at the permanent clinic in Lodwar. 

Project Objectives: 

  • 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

Photo: Counseling session on HIV/AIDS

Summary of RMF/MMI-sponsored activities carried out during the reporting period under each project objective: 

  • Forty-seven clinic days were held at the Lodwar Clinic with a total of 1,257 patients treated by the end of this quarter.
  • Eighteen mobile clinics were conducted in the Second Quarter with a total of 2,304 patients treated.
  • Twenty-one home visits were made in the Second Quarter.
  • Sixteen referrals were made.
  • Continued public health education conducted at the beginning of every clinic session.


Photo: Patients being dispensed medicine

  • During this quarter, the program purchased medicine twice from the MEDS Company in Nairobi, Kenya.  
  • The waiting room was renovated during this quarter.
  • Electricity has been connected to the clinic.
  • Three patients received assistance to seek further treatment from other big hospitals.
  • Maintenance of the clinic vehicle.
  • The staff currently maintains the medicine inventory using a computerized inventory system.

Photo: Villagers given health talk on Malaria

Results and/or accomplishments achieved during this reporting period: 

  • Public health teaching done at the beginning of every clinic day for the patients who arrive early and individual teaching on specific cases in the course of treatment.
  • 47 clinic days were held in the clinic in Lodwar town, with a total of 1,257patients treated
  • 18 mobile clinic days with a total of 2,304 patients treated.
  • 21 home visits (hospice visits) were done in this quarter.
  • 16 referrals were made from rural villages to hospitals or to tertiary care centers during the quarter.

Photo: Lodwar clinic toilet being renovated

  • Purchased medicine twice from MEDS, a company supplying medications in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Renovation of the waiting room of the clinic.
  • Electricity has been connected to the clinic, enabling light as well as refrigeration for vaccines.
  • The program helped three patients to seek specialized treatment.

Number served/number of direct project beneficiaries: 

-A total of 3,561 patients were treated and 4,952 cases treated during this second quarter.

Photo: Patient with severe pneumonia seen on Mobile Clinic Outreach

Success story(s) highlighting project impact:

Written by Derrick Lwoto

1. Mr. Loleny Musa, about 62 years of age and from Kaikir Village, developed malaria while looking after his goats with his son.  They were out in the desert of Turkanaland in the sun and heat.  He had a high fever that led to convulsions.  His son, who is 10 years old didn’t know what to do for his father, so he ran home the 12 kilometers (over 7 miles) from the grazing fields to get help.

After reaching home he met the rest of their relatives and told them what had happened to his dad.  By good luck, their neighbor had my (Derrick’s) cellular phone number who then called me and explained to me the state of the patient.  In less than half an hour we were in the village and were led out into the desert where the patient was. After starting treatment right there, we took the patient to Lodwar Hospital for further treatment.  After just two days of treatment, he was in a much better state and discharged home on the third day.

2. Miriam Akai, 4 years old, had sustained a fracture of her arm while playing with her brothers and sisters. Her mother who was at home at that time was shocked to see that Miriam’s arm seemed to be broken.  She had no help since her husband was out in the desert tending to their goats.  She had no other family to assist and the girl was too heavy to carry up to Lodwar Town for treatment.

Photo: Miriam Akai with fractured arm

After one day had passed, she learned from her neighbor that our mobile clinic was coming to a village 20 km from her village, so she trekked up to that village and explained to the health team the condition of her young child. It was then that I (Derrick) drove her to pick up little Miriam.  We brought her to the Lodwar Hospital for further treatment. The girl had an x-ray that confirmed the fracture and then a plaster cast was administered. She is now doing well according to their neighbor who came to the Lodwar Clinic for treatment.

3. In the month of June, we managed to save the life of an expectant mother who had delayed labor. The patient was from the far end of Kaikir Village where health services are not available. After she had already been in labor for two days, I (Derrick) was called by a villager from Kaikir Village who had my telephone number. He explained to me the situation which really needed immediate help.

After driving for about one hour, we reached the village, examined the patient and found that she needed to be immediately taken to the hospital for further management. At Lodwar Hospital, she received the full attention of doctors who managed her until she delivered her male baby.  She was very ill, and the baby was born with a low APGAR. This implied poor health; however, after being in the hospital for four days she was discharged home with her baby in good state. The lady thanked the program for having helped her in her time of need.

4. Lenyi, a mother of three from Kerio Village, developed an allergic reaction all over her body and began vomiting blood from an unknown cause. She also developed difficulty in breathing. Her husband was astonished at the sudden illness. Her husband went to his pastor there in Kerio Village and asked him to come and pray for his wife whom he thought could die. Fortunately the pastor called me (Derrick Lowoto) and explained the situation of the patient. I then collected the necessary medicine for the patient and travelled to see her.

By the time I reached Lenyi’s home, she was in a bad state. I gave her medicine and then took her to Lodwar for further treatment. After two days she was much better and went back home in much better shape.

5. The mobile clinic we held at Kakud-ikal Village was of great help to the villagers. When we arrived, we found almost all the adults and 100% of the children had malaria. We fortunately had enough antimalarial medication, thanks to the support of RMF, and so the treatment started immediately on our arrival. All the sick received medicine depending on their condition.  Moreover, we returned in a week to provide follow up for the patients, and after a week all of the villagers were in good health.