Today was our first clinic and our nursing staff was excited to get started. The rain started yesterday afternoon and continued somewhat intermittently all night and into the morning. This is the exception here as it generally rains late afternoon then stops at least by early evening. The Kenyans say it has “rained too much”. It was very dry here in the fall, but it started to rain in December and it hasn’t stopped.
As we work in the rural areas of this county, the rain makes the dirt roads slick. We experienced that briefly this morning as we drove down, down, down between a cut in a hill. It was necessary to honk as the road could only accommodate one vehicle (and of course as many motorcycles as can squeeze into a limited space). We met a vehicle which backed down to let us pass as we couldn’t back up!
Our Kenyan clinical officers and nurses arrived at the clinic shortly after we did. They come a great distance each day, by matatu (bus), budabuda (motorcycle), and by foot. Soloman (who has followed us from clinic to clinic for years) arrived dressed in his suit, and initiated the open day’s prayer by beating on a drum. It was quite an impressive sound as we and the local people clapped in rhythm.
Today we treated 500 patients, treated 2 wounds, handed out 178 pairs of reading glasses, and dewormed 270 children. The Kenyan children are on a break this week, so the deworming total will increase substantially next week.
Our hospital patient was 9-1/2 months old and had been badly burned from the waist down in a house fire. His mother died saving his life. He now has complications from the fire. He was treated in hospital today and we will follow up with his care.
Our nurses take turns accompanying our patients to a district hospital built by the government for communities over 500,000 people. Funding for staff is limited and so there is little one on one care. If you need this, a family member stays in your room and provides it. The space between beds is just sufficient for a person to walk between. Medical expenses are subsidized by the government but the patient still has to pay for treatment and services. In contrast, the private hospitals, such as the Aga Khan Hospital in Kisumu provide excellent and timely care. They look and function as a North American hospital. The only difference is before each procedure and doctor’s examination cash changes hands. No visa and no ATMs means you bring the cash with you.
Tomorrow, we travel to Budaywa.