Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Kenya wrap up: Sustainable healthcare

Many wonder when they ask what Medical Mercy does, is whether we are simple a "band-aid", "feel good" medical team going in and doing a song and dance and leaving. Hard words, but asked all the same. After 7 years of medical trips totaling close to 50, treating and caring for over 75,000 patients, I can honestly say that we are firmly ingrained in "sustainable" health care. When we leave, we leave something behind. Continued health care for those who need it. We establish referral liaisons with local physicians and hospitals, we build physical medical clinics that are then staffed by local physicians and nurses, we work along side local nurses and physicians when possible, we train local lay people to be healthcare workers who stay behind and care for the children, and we follow up on the collaborative healthcare programs we put in place with the projects. This trip to Kenya is an example of that.

18 US team members (Amanda, Caleb, Sue, Anne, Kelly, Richard, Mary, Michelle, Bridgette, Ben, Darlene, Michael, Charis, Alyssa, Erika, Patricia, Samuel) joined 16 Kenyan HCWs who we trained over 3 years ago to care for 850 of our MoM children. Lectures every morning before we left for the medical clinics, honing physical examination skills along side the US team members and seeing patients for 5 days, gave the Kenyan HCWs a stronger foundation of knowledge and skills to care for the Mom children. Sustainable healthcare. We did nutritional assessments, treated on the spot those we identified as moderately or severely malnourished with a program of supplemental nutrition and put in place referrals for those children who needed additional care and put in place a concrete follow up program. Sustainable healthcare. Just a few of the many pictures taken will tell the stories. No need to say anything else. I'm proud of what we do and stand behind our mission to give the children the healthcare they need whether we are there or not. My thanks to the US and Kenyan tema members. Yes, we did "feel good" about this trip, but we did so humbly knowing that we left something behind.

In all things give thanks,