This was yet another successful visit with much being accomplished by the group in a relatively short amount of time.
The aim for this visit was to complete most of the building work on two buildings: the accommodation blocks at Sostin Mountain Clinic and at Sigor Hospital.
Abraham started work up at Sostin within a day of our arrival. He arranged the supply of labour and materials, and by the last Saturday of our stay, was in Marich to report that all the work (including the screeding of the floor and external walls) had been accomplished. The site will be cleared and ready for the final addition of 2 solar panels, a water tank and fittings for a shower and taps when we visit again in September 2019.
At Sigor a new window was fitted to one room in the accommodation block. The rest of the glazing was completed as was the internal decoration. As well as Phillip and his two labourers, Benson (a local carpenter) started work on the ceilings. These would be suspended on a wooden framework and as can be seen below, the first ceiling went in pretty well. The lack of a ceiling tape means that the painting of the ceiling will be posponed until the next visit in September.
Lomut is currently without a clinic and the plan is to convert an existing building which has fallen into disrepair. Building work is focused on altering the shape of the building, adding a ring lintel and preparing the building for roofing.
During the course of the two weeks, a number of visits were organised to Sostin, Sigor, and Lomut. The team was augmented at various times by extra medical staff from Sostin and Sigor. A nurses’ strike was in force when we arrived but caused little disruption to our clinics where work continued at a good pace. In some local establishments doctors were also on strike so referrals were low. This meant that we had almost unfettered access to the Sostin ambulance which was on hand to take us into the mountain whenever needed.
The Knickers Project
Early on two visits were made to schools which had not yet received either the feminine hygiene talk or the distribution of sanitary towels and pants.
The first visit was to Mbara where a brief visit had been made last September. Nancy, now a fully qualified nurse, gave an excellent talk and responded well to the many questions asked. The girls were very excited to receive their sanitary towels and pants, as were the female supervising members of staff who also were given supplies.
At the end of the presentation and after many questions Stephen Dite (the clinician at Sostin) asked whether any girls needed medical treatment. Over sixty girls raised their hands. Stephen set up in one room and I accompanied Nancy where she ran a very efficient clinic. Nancy dispensed for both rooms. It was gratifying to see that we were able to treat 65 girls with items taken solely from our IHP box. Of the list of ailments treated the two most common, amounting to 25% of the cases, were eye problems and urinary tract infections.
Later in the week Mike, Barbara and Inke visited Mbara to support their educational programme.
The second ‘Knickers’ run was to Lomut Primary and here we met a very large crowd of girls in one of the classrooms. Nancy once again gave a superb talk, her clear explanations reinforced by her blackboard illustrations. After a question and answer session at the end of the talk, staff helped the Yellowmen distribute the pants and pads to all the girls and female staff.
During the many visits to Sigor Hospital we were able to see the development taking place with new buildings and concrete paths bringing some order to the hospital. Once the building work has been completed further investment will turn Sigor into a County rather than a District hospital. It is hoped that new departments such an x-ray department will help the hospital grow.
In the laboratory, work was hindered by a broken blood centrifuge. On inspection is was discovered that a short circuit had occurred and that some wiring was defunct. With a few phone calls I was able to contact the shop with the contract for such repairs in Kitale and dispatched the centrifuge by PicPic. Two days later it was back and in use. Total cost of the repair and transport – £80.
Two Littman stethoscopes were presented to staff plus some copies of the British National Formulary which are always in great demand. The senior pharmacist was grateful for the medicines that we provided requesting a list of specialised antibiotics he would like if we could provide.
The two day clinic at Tikeet was the busiest yet with well over 300 patients seen and treated. There were hoards of children around the clinic during the opening times and converting a couple of surgical gloves into basketballs kept them busy racing around outside in the sun.