Here is an update written by Bridgette after we went with Peter and Charles to make an mHealth visit in Maurui slum. It is never easy to go to the home of someone who lives in the slum and who is sick. Our staff do it everyday. They are helping those they serve.
One of the most exciting things happening at Partners For Care here is our medical clinic in Marurui slum. Last year, when I was here the clinic had just opened. In this one year it has become a real Godsend to so many in this area.
Also this year, PFC was chosen by Sana (a team from. Harvard and MIT) and Global Heed to field test mHealth – healthcare using mobile phones. Here’s how it works… a PFC staff person takes the mobile phone and goes to a sick person’s house in the slum. They take their vital signs, collect personal data, photograph the patient and upload all of this into the device, which is immediately transmitted to our clinician at the clinic. The clinician then triages the patient making one of four decisions:
1. If an emergency, advises the patient to go to a hospital 2. Advises the patient to come into the clinic to be seen 3. Advises the patient to come to the clinic for medication 4. Or asked the PFC staff to provide information to the patient to address their symptoms
This device can literally change the way health care can be done in a developing nation. And all of it is free to those in abject poverty. Further, because a medical record has been established in the computer system, it gives PFC vital information necessary to follow up with the patient… and it’s all paperless! Thus far, the implementation has been going very well, and allows PFC to triage and treat many sick people who might not ever have access to health care. The program will be one of the classes taught at Harvard this next spring on Global Health.
Before leaving in a few days, I wanted to spend a day down at the clinic with the PFC staff there. I was invited to go out with Peter on a follow up home visit. As we walked deeper and deeper into the slum, I realized I had no idea just how bad the conditions were. As we entered the one room, dirt floor shack where 9 people live, I sat and watched as a mother held her listless baby girl. She had been diagnosed with environmental asthma… most likely caused by the burning of the black coal in the same room they sleep in!
As I sat there, I was heartbroken as God reminded me how incredibly blessed I am… and that no one should ever have to live like those I saw today! The scene still haunts me as I write. As I lay my head down tonight with a soft pillow under my head, clean sheets over my body and a mosquito net around my bed, I pray that I will always feel heartbroken over what I saw today… because without that, I would forget just how much God has blessed me and that He has blessed me to bless others. Peter and Charles go deep into the slum every single day. Their hearts break too… and that is why they do it.
Partners For Care’s medical work here in Kenya is indeed making a huge difference… as they continue to show this community that they are not forgotten. Through medical treatment, community health initiatives, bed net distribution, HIV testing and education and free medical camps, they are truly changing their nation, one patient at a time. I am so humbled to be a part of it.
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