Kenya: Overcoming barriers to health with our Mobile Clinics

December 14, 2012

Derrick Lowoto


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: Mobile Clinic Outreach 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: (left) Explaining medication use to patient, (right) and Eliud, our pharmacy technician, gives a public health talk on safe use of medicine.

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

  • 37 clinic days in Lodwar clinic with a total of 1,045 patients treated by end of this quarter.
  • 28 mobile clinics were conducted in the Third Quarter with a total of 4,510 patients treated.
  • 11 home visits were made this quarter.
  • 14 referrals made by the end of the quarter.
  • Continued public health education given at the beginning of every clinic session.
  • During this quarter, the program purchased medicine twice and also bought laboratory and medical supplies.
  • Four patients received assistance to seek further treatment at hospitals.
  • The laboratory is completed and will be ready to run services in October 2012.
  • General maintenance of the clinic vehicle.
  • The staff currently maintains the medicine inventory using a computerized inventory system.

Photo: Pharmacy at the Lodwar Clinic building

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.
  • Purchased medicine twice from MEDS, a company supplying medications in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as laboratory reagents.
  • 37 clinic days were held in the clinic in Lodwar town, with a total of 1,045patients treated.
  • 28 mobile clinic days with a total of 4,510patients treated.
  • 11 home visits (hospice visits) were done in this quarter.
  • 14 referrals were made this quarter from rural villages to hospitals or other tertiary care centers.
  • Maintenance of the clinic vehicle.
  • Laboratory completed and services are currently active.
  • The program helped three patients to seek specialized treatment.
  • Electricity is now available at the clinic.

Number served/number of direct project beneficiaries:

A total of 5,555 patients were treated and 7,054 cases treated during this quarter.

Success Story

Written by Derrick Lwoto

Jonah Mojong

Mr. Jonah Mojong is an elder from Lomopus, one of the villages we go to for regular outreaches. He is a witch doctor who has always been against any modernization in his village.  He is an important figure, and the people in his village honor him highly. He has been against any development such as schools, medical clinics, churches etc. and his words seem final to most people living in that village  However, in spite of his opposition, the government and churches have been continuing development in the area and we have continued our medical outreach in order to help the community.

Unfortunately, Mr. Mojong became sick last July (2012). He was bitten by a snake while at home. It happened that the following day, we went to his village for our regular mobile clinic. After reaching the village, we were told that he had been bitten by a snake the previous night and seemed near death. We decided to go and check his condition and found him in a poor state. His whole body was swollen, bleeding in most orifices and he had labored breathing. We then made a decision to refer him to Lodwar Hospital for further treatment but unfortunately, his relatives refused this assistance. We decided to offer him treatment right there since we had the medicine to save his life.

After the initial treatment at his home that day, he improved quickly.  We gave the relatives more medicines to continue treatment and continued on our way. After one week, the witch doctor sent his son to bring a word of appreciation to us (medical team) having helped him in the critical hour of his life.  He further encouraged us to bring medicines to his village twice a month for he now sees the importance of our outreach.

We (health team) told his son to report to him that all development projects coming to his village are essential and he should welcome all for the sake of his family and the community at large.

Nakechichok Village

In the month of August, we were able to reach a new village called Nakechichok Village. This village is poorly reached by health services and its inhabitants have multiple health problems and no access to health care.

A week earlier, one of our staff who was visiting the village, observed the poor state of health in the village and he called me (Derrick Lowoto) to explain what he saw. The following week, we travelled to the village with medicine and food.  The village was so remote that there was not even a road to reach it, merely a foot path.  After two hours we reached the village.  We found people gathered under all the trees waiting for our medical team. Almost everybody was sick and most children under five years and pregnant mothers had never had maternal-child health services. Almost all the children have grown without being immunized against childhood illnesses.

The clinic went on for over six hours straight without rest and we were able to treat everybody. The villagers were very grateful for the help we brought to them at the time they had health crisis. We then promised them another mobile clinic in September.

Expectant Mother

In the month of September we encountered an expectant mother from Naotin Village. She was at term and having difficulty in delivery. Fortunately her relatives called us for help.  Her relatives waited beside the road to guide us to the home, so we were able to reach her within a half hour.  There, we assessed the patient’s condition and found that it was not safe to deliver at home. So we took her to Lodwar Hospital where she later delivered a healthy male baby.

After one day the mother was discharged with her baby in good condition and we took her back home.