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