Noreen was accompanied on this visit by Penny a friend and colleague from Exeter.
After the usual shopping for supplies and medicines in Kisumu they travelled to Buburi by car. They was a surprising scene on arrival to the clinic, 86 patients were queueing outside the building, waiting for malaria treatment. The supplies had run out 2 days before and the news had spread the “Muzungo” would arrive with more medicine. So hot, dusty and very tired from a long journey from the UK the girls joined the nurses in the clinic to distribute the treatment packs to all the patients.
Penny had a baptism of fire for her first trip to Kenya as it was an incredibly busy time. The patient numbers had increased, in part due to the arrival of Oda to the clinic with her loyal following. Penny designed a patient satisfaction survey which was translated into Kiswahili and patients were very keen to give us their views on the services they needed in the village and the future of the clinic as they saw it.
A trip to visit the local Public Health Officer in Funyula paid dividends when he offered 80 Mosquito nets for the clinic to be given to young mothers with children under five, who are the most vulnerable to Malaria. Most mothers are given a net when they deliver their baby in the local hospital, but of course many mothers never see a doctor or midwife throughout their pregnancy and deliver the baby at home with the help of a traditional birth attendant (TBA)
The clinic nurses were trying to teach young families the importance of having an insecticide treated net within their home. At the same time there was a “washing and dipping day” in the grounds of the clinic for those villagers with old nets that needed re treating and local young women came to offer their help. There was almost a carnival atmosphere that day with mosquito nets drying on the bushes and people relaxing in the shade. The helpers that day were very keen to become involved with their clinic and this was at a time when the UK nurses were discussing disease prevention and how to implement some measures to promote good health practices. These women have since become the Community Health Workers and form a link between the clinic and the villagers providing education on health topics ranging from Malaria to mother and baby health.
The usual data collection and paperwork kept the evenings occupied along with an “emergency visit” to reach a very sick elderly lady in her home. This highlighted the benefits of the NHS where help is but a phone call away.
The trip was a lot of hard work but being with such lovely people there was a lot of fun too. Penny was a delightful companion who had a fresh perspective to offer and we hope she will visit again.