Most Recent Update From Kenya
When you travel somewhere for the first time you realise that things will turn out differently from what you imagine, but by the fifth time, you expect fewer surprises, but this is Kenya!
For a while there had seemed little progress on the building works, but in the 2 months since I was last here, far more has happened and it looks as if both the new canteen for staff and visitors and the new accommodation block will both open in the next few weeks.
I was surprised by the extra short termers who came to work in the out patient clinic in the last fortnight. We were significantly busier during my first two weeks due to the start of the month when people have received their pay and the fact that there is a continuing strike at the government hospitals. As I walked into work at about 08-00 the carpark would be almost full with patients queuing out of the doors. Whilst I am not sure whether there were significantly more patients each day than on other visits, there were definitely more cars.
Having extra helpers though has had its benefits. I have had the opportunity to go around the hospital trying to consider ways that we may be able to improve the hospital experience for both visitors and staff. When you know a place too well that can be difficult, when you visit for the first time you may not appreciate the limitations. The most senior members of staff have a huge burden of work, some of those ‘on the floor’ have not liked to mention some of the frustrations. As the hospital is looking to move ahead in many areas, I am hopeful that some suggestions will be adopted.
The eye department is extremely grateful for the equipment that I was able to bring over as a result of the thoughtfulness of a gentleman who services the equipment in opticians and rescues unwanted machines to be used in the third world. The money that is being raised will go to provide a laser to mitigate the ravages of advanced diabetes. Diabetes is a leading cause of preventable blindness and there are very few places in the whole of Kenya where this sight saving treatment is carried out. Sadly due to the waiting times at the government hospitals it will be too late to preserve sight for the few who manage to access it.
On a positive note, far more Kenyan citizens have access to a nationwide insurance scheme whereby a large proportion of their in patient hospital costs are covered. Education and timely advice when they come to the hospital is helping the rest. With two payments even pre-existing conditions are covered. This is an absolute lifesaver for thousands and is a testament to the difference government can make when there is the will to do so. As Kenya looks to its General Election on the 8th August could we pray for peaceful acceptance of the will of the people and wisdom and integrity for those elected. Whilst praying let us also remember those in our own government as they consider the choices they should make for the benefit of those in our country and beyond.