AEMRN medical camp and mobile clinics reach out to rural populations in Kitale, Kenya
August 2011 - Alliance member the Afro-European Medical and Research Network (AEMRN) walked the talk with the recently conducted multi-disciplinary medical work camps and mobile clinics in Kitale, North-Western Kenya. AEMRN addressed its core mandate by sharing experiences and knowledge with communities in need, and reaching out to populations living in resource limited and hard to reach areas through a powerful and diverse volunteering programme.
With a clear result oriented mindset, AEMRN members organized an intensive medical work camp week at the end of July 2011 with a team of 27 international volunteers including doctors, nurses, nursing midwives, epidemiologists, vector control specialist, psychiatrists, as well as a health worker team from the Ministry of Health of Kenya.
"We are delighted that we have been able to conduct the mobile clinics in Kitale, as it proved that there is a real need for such exchange and sharing of knowledge by professionals from different disciplines and countries" said Dr Charles Senessie, President of AEMRN International. He added: "Our work clearly complements the efforts of the Ministry of Health Kenya in reducing the knowledge gap between colleagues in the west and low-income countries as well as promoting evidenced based clinical practices and enhancing south-south and north-south collaboration."
The week started at the government hospital of Kitale, an agriculture town in the Rift Valley Province in north-western Kenya. Participants worked at the hospital along side local colleagues during the first day and took part in ward rounds, further facilitating the exchanging and sharing of knowledge and experiences true to the vision of AEMRN.
Mobile clinics were conducted for two consecutive days, and reached over 3000 patients in the Kipsogo slum and Matisi village.
An important component of the mobile clinics was the ability to conduct community based epidemiological survey for malaria and sickle cell. Moreover, in collaboration with the UK Office for National Statistics, data collected from the clinic registration card - patient demographics, diagnosis and treatment - will be analysed and will further inform district level health policy development. Furthermore, in partnership with the Global Health Partnership and Ordinary Women's International, the mobile clinics also offered free Voluntary Testing and Counselling for HIV. Severely ill patients were referred to the government hospital, and were offered initial physical cash for admission, medications and transportation to the hospital.
The mobile clinics were followed by a day-long continuous medical education seminars for all cadres of health workers at the Kitale hospital, on a range of subjects - including malaria prevention, heart disease and health statistics.
The healthcare services provided to the population proved to be extremely valuable in a region where free consultation, examination and drug supply are inexistent. What is more, the truly collaborative nature of the programme also fosters local development and capacity building, and promotes partnerships for sustainable solutions to improve access to healthcare in rural and remote areas.
The Alliance commends AEMRN for their medical camps and mobile clinic project and encourages all other members of the Alliance to share their valuable stories on projects related to health workers.