For the last four years, we have been conducting medical, vision and dental clinics in the Mikinduri area, serving literally thousands of patients from outlying remote villages. During our time in Kenya, we have been conducting basic research on what medical services are available for this class of people. Our findings revealed that there exists a great lack of services for such basic services as immunizations, mother/child health, and services for the handicapped, etc.
Further research revealed that there are services which would be of great benefit to these people, but for various reasons are not reaching them. During our 2010 visit, we spent a week meeting with some of these great organizations which specialize in providing services. Organizations such as Amref (African Medical Research and Education foundation), APDK (assoc for the physically handicapped in Kenya), Kikuya Eye Institute, AIC Care Orthapedic Hospital, Cantelengo Mission Hospital, and others. We were surprised to learn that some of them exist in isolation from others. However, we were delighted to learn that they were willing to work with us to try to develop a more workable network of services.
We further discovered that one of the best ways of approaching this problem is probably through supporting the establishment of system of Community Based Healthcare workers.
Our goal, over the next five years, is to establish a workable safety net, through the hiring and training of community-based healthcare workers, who will elected by their communities to act as leaders in their remote communities, in terms of providing training on such issues as, mother child health, nutrition, personal hygiene, deworming, respiratory, ent, and women’s rights issues, and services to the handicapped.
One of the issues which we felt to be extremely important was that of having a basic “readiness study” done, by competent professionals. We felt this important for several reasons, first of all the fact that we wanted to learn exactly what currently exists, but also to be able to demonstrate to potential partners, that we were approaching this in a professional thorough manner. To that end we recently contacted consultants who specialize in doing such work. We are currently in the process of discussing our needs and negotiating a price for their services.
In addition, Dr Ed Harrison, Chair of the CBHC sub committee, has been very active in doing follow-up contacts, with the individuals in Kenya, whom we met last year, and with whom we hope to work. Recently, the rate at which things are happening has increased substantially, and we have many good things to report.
APDK have agreed to work with us in Mikinduri, as part of their catchment area, to conduct actual clinics. This is a dream come true, because those people with disabilities will have access to specialized treatments, such as physio, as well as wheelchairs, and prosthesis. Even more incredible is the fact that APDK work in partnership with AIC Care, which means that they would have access to surgery for club feet, cleft palettes, and other specialty treatments.
In fact, on either February 7 or 8th, the first actual clinics will take place in Mikinduri. One of the other benefits of partnering with such a great organization, is that they will have a tie in with local regional hospitals. In fact, it will be the physio professionals from the local regional hospital in Meru, which is only 20 miles from Mikinduri, that will be conducting the clinics. This is very exciting, given the fact that up till now, nothing of this sort had ever been considered. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this involved into regular monthly clinics for the
physically handicapped, at the dispensary in Mikinduri.
Because we are approaching the CBHC as thoroughly as we possibly can, we have approached Amref Canada to arrange with Amreff Kenya, to have us spend two or three days, in one of their sites, where they have a successful community-based healthcare system operating. We have been very encouraged, and believe that this will be taking place on February 2, 3rd and 4th . As a result of that experience, not only will we learn firsthand, but also those Kenyan board members, and staff, who will attend.
Another aspect of our planning, is to try to get all of the partners listed above, as well as government health officers, and our board members together for a one-day meeting, in Mikinduri, for the specific purpose of trying to develop an agreement to develop a partnership, which will utilize the resources and strengths of the individual partners, to increase accessibility to the required services, which are currently unavailable in many areas surrounding Mikinduri. This meeting is currently set for February 7 or 8th.
In order for this new very important project to succeed, we will require the services of a health professional, who has the skills and demonstrated experience of pulling together the various resources, and managing them effectively. This person would report to our MHCDO advisory board, through our program director Antony Karigia. We are in the process currently, of seeking individuals, to be interviewed by our Kenya people. It is our hope that this person can be brought on stream, in the early stages, so that he or she, can be part of all of the meetings, and training sessions, and can be our person on the ground, who can do a lot of the legwork required, in partnership with the Mikinduri board and staff in the run up to our visit.
In addition, it is our intention, through our people in Mikinduri, to approach the Hon Mr Peter Munya MP for the area, an invitation to attend our meetings, if they feel this is advisable, but also to seek his participation by providing funding from the constituency
This will be an expensive project but one filled with a lot of hope for improving services to the very poor.
We therefore a have special fundraising effort to raise $50,000.
If you can help please mail your cheque payable to Mikinduri Children of Hope, 25 Waterview Dr Cornwall PEI, C0A 1H0. Those wishing to donate on line can go to our Paypal.
Thank you in advance for your help.