I am a Physician Associate working in general practice in Liverpool.
I have always wanted to get involved with charity work so when the opportunity arose to volunteer with Rainbow for Africa I jumped at the chance! It was a fantastic experience that I will always cherish. I learnt so much about the healthcare system in Nairobi, the very difficult environmental and financial challenges and how to make the most with whatever resources you have.
We carried out a medical clinic at the Deep Sea Slum where we would see anyone with any complaint.
A young man attended with his CT images from a major road traffic accident a few weeks prior.
He could hardly speak or open his mouth and his images revealed several facial fractures. He could not afford treatment. The charity used their contacts to get him the help he needed from the maxillofacial team at the hospital.
A fond memory of a lady from the deep sea slum who was 104 years old!
She attended our medical clinic and her only complaint was a bit of back pain, all she wanted was some paracetamol and she left with this and a smile on her face!
On this day we worked at a healthcare camp that was set up to provide free medical clinics for patients.
We observed and taught medical students from the University Of Nairobi. We were able to prescribe medications which were then issued by the on-site pharmacists and we were also able to direct patients to various specialities who also on hand for example ENT or ophthalmology.
It became clear that many patients who would take home the short supply of medications we were able to give them, assumed this would “fix” their issue for example hypertension. When we explained the medication needed to be continued long term or needed blood monitoring they would often laugh, stating this would be impossible as they couldn’t afford this. It highlighted the underlying issues in the health care system regarding access to health care, as well as the importance of educating them about lifestyle and conservative measures too.
Here we are teaching some doctors, clinical officers and pharmacists about the management of hypertension which is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Nairobi.
Their enthusiasm and willingness to learn was inspirational.
The charity really needs ongoing support to enable further projects to continue in the future and I hope to be fortunate enough to join them once again soon!
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