MATHARE MEDICAL VOLUNTARY OUTREACH
Afya Mtaani is a collaborative initiative of recent graduates and medical students from Mathare and Huruma.
We came together at the beginning of the Cohid 19 pandemic, when people were unable to access medical facilities for fear of misinformation about the spread of the Corona virus.
The Peter Bachmann Foundation funded our first mobile medical kits, which we used to carry out our first relief programmes, visiting patients in their shelters in the slums. The team, led by Kiadis Makori, a master’s student in medicine at Kenyatta University, set up a small clinic right in the slum where we run a small pharmacy and from where we conduct our medical awareness campaigns twice a month. The other members of the group are Kevin Karejo (medical student at JKUAT), Eunice Abok (Graduate Clinic Officer) and George Orimba (social worker, PBF).
We are pleased to report on the medical outreach that took place in Huruma/Mathare Slums on 18 September 2021. Attendance was very good, with people coming in large numbers, from young children to the elderly.
Family planning and sex education:
We met a group of girls aged 18 who had suffered complications after an abortion and those who are already pregnant and looking forward to becoming mothers soon. This group of girls received sex education that included talks about safe sex, family planning and health behaviours such as voluntary HIV/AIDS testing and other sexually transmitted infections.
We were able to enrol the expectant mothers, all still teenagers, in our antenatal classes as there is no government hospital in the area that could provide these services at an affordable price.
Our medical team was also able to take care of children under the age of five who were suffering from pneumonia, malnutrition, malaria, severe dehydration and burns, among others. We had an emergency with a one-year-old child who was severely dehydrated, and the team was able to give him the necessary medication, and we are now monitoring the baby’s development together with the mother.
High blood pressure and diabetes:
During our routine check-ups, we noticed new cases and observed a very unusual trend: While the earlier cases were mostly older people, we are now noticing an increasing number of younger cases of hypertension and diabetes. Mothers as young as 25 years old suffer from severe headaches which they try to fight only with painkillers. The diagnosis turned out to be hypertension in most cases.
We were able to guide them in educational sessions on healthy behaviour, medication intake and self-control.
Most women in Mathare and Huruma suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease. This is a common case we encounter in our daily practice at Afya Mtaani. This outreach was not an exception. We treated several cases and most of the patients were not aware of it. They treat themselves with over-the-counter medicines, but in most cases without success. They experience recurrent infections because they live unhygienically and have many sex partners.
One special case was that of a 54-year-old woman who has been suffering from severe headaches on the left side of her brain and abdominal pain for two years, and whose left breast has been producing milk for six months. She has two children, aged 38 and 35, who also live in Huruma and work odd jobs to support their families. She is a widow and does manual work to survive. Unfortunately, Afya Mtaani cannot help her because our resources are not enough to solve her medical problem. She needs to have a hormone profile, a thyroid function test and a CT scan of her head, which Afya Mtaani cannot do. Her concern is that she will have to continue living in pain because she does not have a National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). She cannot afford to pay the $5 a month for the card. She hopes and prays that benefactors will help her get the medical treatment she needs.
The mission of PBF:
Our mission is to reach out to individuals and families in need and help them actively address their basic needs, including health promotion and nutrition. We promise to keep up the good work with a positive impact on the community. Thank you for all the support the Peter Bachmann Foundation continues to give us for the service and life-saving medical and social interventions for people living in abject poverty in the slum areas of Huruma and Mathare.
Volunteer Medical Officer at AfyaMtaani/Oneworldnetwork OWN, 20. 9. 2021