October 2021: Kenya / Mathare: Medical consultation center with volunteers

Afya Mtaani is a collaborative initiative of young graduates and medical students from Mathare and Huruma.

We came together at the beginning of the COVID-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 conduct our first outreach programs, visiting patients in their homes in the slums. The team, led by Kiadis Makori, a master’s student in nursing at Kenyatta University, set up a small clinic directly in the slum. We run a small dispensary there and conduct our medical awareness campaigns from there 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).

September Outreach

We are pleased to report, for example, on our medical outreach on September 18, 2021 in Huruma/Mathare Slums. Attendance was very good, people came in large numbers, from young children to the elderly.

Family planning and sex education

We met a group of young women aged 18 who had suffered complications after an abortion, others were already pregnant. They were looking forward to becoming mothers soon. With this group, we talked about safe sex, family planning, and health behaviors such as voluntary HIV/AIDS testing or other sexually transmitted infections.

We were able to enroll the expectant young mothers in our childbirth preparation classes because there is no government hospital in the area that would provide these services at an affordable price

Our team was also able to care for children under the age of 5 who were suffering from pneumonia, malnutrition, malaria, severe dehydration, and burns, among other conditions. We had an emergency with a one-year-old child who was severely dehydrated, and the team was able to administer the necessary medication. Together with the mother, we monitor the baby’s development.

High blood pressure and diabetes

During our routine examinations, 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 suffer from severe headaches, which they try to combat only with painkillers. The diagnosis turned out to be hypertension in most cases.

We were able to have educational conversations with them, encouraging healthy behaviors and pointing out medication adherence and self-monitoring.

Common diseases

Most women in Mathare and Huruma suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease. This is a fairly common case that we encounter in our daily practice at AfyaMtaani. This outreach was not an exception. We treated several cases and most of them were not aware of it. They treat their illness with over the counter medications and in most cases it does not go away. They suffer from recurrent infections because they live unhygienically and have multiple sexual partners.

Special cases

There was one very special case. A 54-year-old woman has been suffering from severe headaches on the left side of her brain and abdominal pain for 2 years. Her left breast has been producing milk for 6 months. She has two adults, ages 38 and 35, who also live in Huruma and take odd jobs to support their families. She herself is a widow and does manual labor to survive. Unfortunately, she cannot be helped in AfyaMtaani because our resources are not enough to solve her medical problem. She would need to have a hormone profile, thyroid function test, and CT scan of her head, which we cannot provide. 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 $5 monthly for the fee. She hopes and prays that other people will come to her aid and help her get the medical care she needs.

Tribute to PBF

We find joy in volunteering and using our medical skills in giving back to the community.Our mission is to reach out to needy individuals and families to help them meet their very basic needs including health promotion and nutrition.We promise to continue with the good work and bring positive impact to the community.Many thanks for every support the Peter Bachmann  Foundation continues to give us towards the service and life saving medical and social interventions to the people living in abject poverty I the informal settlements of Huruma and Mathare.

Eunice Abok, 

Medical Volunteer -AfyaMtaani