Overcoming Challenges – Kaimosi Friends Hospital

Families in the Courtyard. The gutters lead to 500 liter tank

A single story building set around a courtyard offers good opportunity for rain water harvesting;

Silt encroachment on water source

on many days while I was there, this was the only source of water. The nearby privatized water plant was malfunctioning. Hand-washing without water is difficult. As Dr Ben said, “it is only by God’s grace that we don’t have hospital

acquired infections”.  Drinking water is filtered through biosand filters – clean safe water albeit coming slowly.

Electricity comes and goes.  The generator provides barely enough light for surgery and only when other lights are turned off.  Lighting is supplemented by flashlight.  The plaster is cracked.

Delivery Room, often no light

The roof leaks, even in the Operating Theatre.  Money has been raised for renovation, but has been tied up in details over ownership of the hospital.  Looks like this has resolved and work will be starting.  Finding a skilled knowledgeable trust-worthy project manager is also a challenge.  Dr Ben is an experienced Ugandan doctor who has been working in Kenya for over 25 years.  He cares deeply about the patients.

Dr Ben and patient

Even without specialty training He operates on all cases that are within his capacity, having learned over many years and much battlefield experience.

Dr Sylvia

Dr Sylvia is very bright and enthusiastic, just out of her internship,  during which all Kenyan physicians must perform twenty C-Sections during their internship year.  Thenshe was placed where she can be of service, doing them.  Head nurse Irene Gulavi came out of retirement to help the hospital, which had suffered from mismanagement, get back on its feet.

The providers are hampered because there is no infant warmer for the operating room when there is a C-Section.   Better surgical instruments for C-Sections and laparotomies are needed.  The outpatient clink needs a suction machine.

The laboratory has no blood chemistry analyzer to check electrolytes, kidney, or liver function.  There is no incubator to do cultures.  There  Recently thanks to Friends coming to the World Conference, there are now enough blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, and thermometers.

Trauma cases are frequent – thugs and motorcycles are rife in the area and we saw many broken bones and lacerations as a result.  There were two severely burned children during the time I was there – no ability to get specialty care and we had to struggle to have enough gauze.  Malaria is endemic.  Septic induced abortions common, since legal services are not available and for some, particularly school girls, there is no access to contraception.  Hypertension is often unrecognized leading to strokes.  HIV/AIDs infection rate is around 10% in the area – an underlying cause of admission.

People come to Kaimosi Friends Hospital because it is close,

Mother with newborn and knitted cap

affordable and no one will be turned away. Patients, that are too sick and would be better off if they transfered to a hospital with more advanced facilities,  stay because they cannot afford to go. The staff is very committed to improving the quality of care, though their equipment is minimal at best. I have told them I am working to secure the funds to send them much needed supplies. One of the first priorities is improving the outpatient treatment facility.

In Labor in the morning, mosquito nets still down, no nurse in sight

The hospital has a new administrator, John Ochienga, who is experienced, hardworking and has the know how to improve the hospital. He  sees a need to hire more nurses, but he is hampered by the poor housing conditions he is able to offer them. In an effort to utilize the funds the hospital has in the best possible manner they have hired a young Financial Officer.

Child fell from a tree and her abdominal wall and intestines were perforated with her guts coming out. Now recovering from surgical repair.

Some of the most urgent needs I saw while I was there were: finding a way to support severely burned children, who cannot afford to stay long enough to recover, more staffing in Labor and Delivery so that no woman giving birth is left alone,  public service announcements to let people there is an ambulance available to transport sick patients. One additional service to the community the hospital could offer would be a morgue a necessity to grieving families, which would produce a small stream of income for the hospital and help subsidize indigent care.

Full hospital ward

My hope is that through the loving generosity of the Friend’s wider world family, that the hospital will have the  more modern lab equipment it needs, and that the water and electricity supply will reliable and through meeting level IV guidelines for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care, Kaimosi Quaker Hospital will once again be a shining beacon of light of our faith and God’s love for those in need.


About geetajyothi

Slightly over the hill Quaker physician passionate that education can transform lives and hopeful that the world will wake up to the imperative to respond meaningfully to the threat of climate change
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6 Responses to Overcoming Challenges – Kaimosi Friends Hospital

  1. Richard Knottenbelt says:

    Dear Gita
    Many thanks for your continued sharings of your experience (and the experience of so many ordinary Kenyans). You have raised challenges which we need to think about and I particularly valued your non-judgmental approach to the genital mutilation issue. It is so hard to see that “from within” the cul;ture and trot out the “obvious” answers.
    Do hope that your call fro help for Kaimosi is fruitful. You must be nearing the end of your time there?

  2. maurice migelle says:

    We have pictures of this ambulance KBJ 764J used as a driving school vehicle in some fields in Kisumu is it official 28th Sept 2013 1600hrs

    • geetajyothi says:

      I hope that it is just a confusion. I have no way to know as I have not been there in over two years. I do not even know if Quakers are still running the hospital.

  3. Joe Nash says:

    Hello, My parents, Leslie and Sandra Nash served at the Kaimosi Hospital in 1974. My father was the Administrator and my mother was Director of Nurses. They were recruited by FUM through William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa USA. I have many stories to share should you care to hear from me. I have been blessed with the ability to remember things in great detail, though I was only 12 years old at the time. Some happy, some sad. If you still maintain this site, please write. Thank you!

    • Richard Knottenbelt says:

      Good to know of another with contact with Kaimosi! Have just migrated from Zimbabwe to USA but was at the Kaimosi Frinds World Conference- early 80’s and have made a couple of other viists to Kenya. Very interested in your parents’ experiences if they are wqritten down. We worked in Roman Catholic missions for many years and recognise the challenges of water supply although privatisation is a new and potentially deadly factor. Have you come across Friendly Water for the World?

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