Good luck and good-by medical students! GHP coordinates research done to study the effectiveness of the health care projects we do in Kenya. We are always looking for ways to make improvements in the health of Kenyan families. The research is conducted and paid for through a collaboration with the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. Medical students are given a valuable opportunity for a cross-cultural and academic experience in a resource-poor developing country. They also have a chance to learn about community-based public health. The UNM student research projects provide GHP with important information about what is working and where program improvements are needed. The UNM students return home with knowledge, skills, and experience that can be applied to low-income rural settings here in New Mexico. A group of 23 UNM medical students leave for Kisesini on March 1 to study GHP projects on child malnutrition, newborn infant care, and the important role that village community health workers can play to improve the health of very low income families in remote villages. Dr. Angelo Tomedi, president of GHP and a member of the faculty of the UNM Department of Family and Community Medicine, will be supervising their research. The very best to you all on your journeys.
To see some of the publications generated by this research, see our “our projects” tab.
So many of the health problems faced by patients within GHP’s service area are caused or worsened by nutritional deficiencies. Right now GHP helps support 18 families. These families live on less than a dollar per day. Many of them are orphans or are being raised by desperately ill parents or grandparents. Many of these children are HIV/AIDS orphans and victims. The families are selected by their Community Health Workers, who know them very well, and are proposed for GHP support. Each proposed family is visited personally by the head nurse at the Kisesini Health Center, Nicholas Mtu, who assesses their health and social situation.
Thank you, Nicholas, for working so hard for these poor families. Thank you for your year round nutritional support for these families. Some of the families are pictured here, receiving their special Christmas gifts of food.
Also thanks to Nicholas, GHP will provide support for school uniforms. Children in Kenya cannot attend school without a uniform. A simple gift of a school uniform allows these poor children to learn to read and write.
This year’s race will begin at the Midtown Sports and Wellness Center, located at 4100 Prospect Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110.
We have a wonderful collaboration with local elite Kenyan runners who run this 8 K race. There will also be a 5 K fun run/walk and 1K kids run.
The Safari Run started with about 80 participants and now has grown to over 300 runners and walkers. Last year each participant received a hand carved giraffe from Kenya. We also had an opening invocation from a local singer Cathy McGill.
This is a unique event with famous runners, Kenyan food, and now hand carved safari animals. Other crafts are also available at the event.
We have had sponsorship from Heart and Sole Shoe Store, Podiatry Associates, Midtown Sports and Wellness, Hello Deli, Monte Carlo Restaurant, Dr. Tim Hansen, Dr. Larry Marrich D.C., and Maria Cassimus CPA.
The new Maternity Center, adjacent to the Kisesini Health Center, is nearly complete. Many, many thanks to the generous supporters of GHP and to the wonderful Kenyan nurses who have been overseeing the entire project. Soon expectant mothers within the Kisesini service area will have professional assistance before, during and after delivery.
The construction of the maternity center for the Kisesini Community Health Project is now underway! This is a dream, many years in the making, come true.
Many women in Africa die in childbirth, and many of their newborn infants die during or soon after birth from lack of professional health care. The community that is served by the Kisesini project in Kenya has been seeking that professional care, with an increasing number of women arriving at the clinic to deliver their babies. Until now, they have been delivering in an exam room, and immediately walk back home with their newborn infant, sometimes walking for many hours. With the generous support of GHP donors, the construction has begun of a building next to the Kisesini clinic that will serve as a maternity center. The women and their newborns will soon have a safer and healthy environment for childbirth and newborn care.
To date this project has been done ahead of schedule and under budget, thanks to the expert supervision of our nursing staff at the Kisesini Community Health Project.
Next we need some beds, linens, equipment and supplies to make this a top notch Kenyan Maternity Center. Please consider a contribution to this worthy project.
An infection recognized early can save a newborn’s life
After a long walk to the home of a mother and her newborn infant, Salinas promptly began her assessment of the infant. Salinas is a volunteer community health worker (CHW) who has more than two years of experience with newborn home visits, having participated in the first training program that was implemented by Global Health Partnerships. The infant that she is visiting today in a village of Makusya sublocation was born three days ago without complications or problems. When Salinas checked on the baby the first day after birth, all was going well and there were no signs of illness or problems. On today’s visit Salinas starts by greeting the mother, asking if breast feeding is going well and if the mother has any concerns or has noticed any problems. She notes that the baby seems alert and active, has no skin pustules or boils, and her temperature is normal. But when Salinas counts the breathing rate, she finds a rapid rate of more than 60 breaths per minute. Recognizing this danger sign of serious illness, she calls her supervisor Nicholas Mutuku, who quickly arranges for the mom and baby to be transported to the Kisesini clinic. Nicholas confirms the diagnosis of pneumonia, promptly starts antibiotic therapy, and arranges hospitalization of the infant. A few days later the young infant has recovered and is back at home with her mother.
In Kenya 40% of childhood deaths occur during the neonatal period (the first month of life), and three- fourths of those neonatal deaths happen in the first seven days. Young infants can become very ill and succumb to their illness quickly. The key to reducing the death rate is early recognition and prompt treatment. Over the past three months Salinas and the other 19 CHWs visited a total 198 infants during their first week of life. The visits were conducted on days one, three, and seven of that first week, as recommended by UNICEF. There were no deaths. In the absence of the newborn home visitation program, 4 or 5 of those 198 young infants would likely have died, based on the national neonatal mortality rate in Kenya. The dedicated CHWs of the Kisesini Community Health Project have accomplished this successful effort because of your donations to this GlobalGiving project. If adequate funding can be found, GHP is planning an expansion of the project so that a larger number of newborn infants can be included.
Some of the best Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the world work with the Kisesini Clinic. These trained lay people do critical work that saves lives, beginning with the first day of life. Up to now they have received a per diem of $2.50 for a day’s work. This is not enough to keep their bicycles in repair to enable them to travel to the remote locations they visit. There has been significant inflation in Kenya in the last decade. The GHP board has agreed to raise the per diem of the CHWs to $3.50. Thank you for your life-saving work.
July 9 2013
Today we visited sand dams to learn how they work and the progress in building them. There are several sand dam projects in Kyua Sublocation, the same area as the Kisesini Clinic. Earlier this year, GHP provided funds to Chief Peter Kavulo to repair and improve the dirt roads to Kisesini Dispensary. The Chief met us in Kisesini. As we drove toward Kyua Market, he pointed out work that the County had done on the road. There was a heavy rain in March that washed out parts of the road into Kisesini. They shored up the edges of the road with bags filled with gravel and dug trenches to let the water drain away from the road. The main road into the clinic is now much easier to drive but longer-about 12K from the tarmac road.
We drove a short distance outside of Kyua (pronounced chew-ah the nearest town) and followed a road until we reached a dry stream bed.We stopped and walked a quarter of a mile until we saw what seemed a mirage. There was pond surrouned by banana trees and along the shore tomatos and maize. The water impounded by the sand dam supports drinking, animal and crop use. Four villages collaborated in building a series of dams that catch stream water when it rains. Several dams about a kilometer apart gradually fill up with water and sand. Excess water flows over the dam and is caught by the next dam. Even though a dam is filled with sand, the sand holds water that in theorys can be collected by digging down until water is reached.
The dams are built of concrete and anchored into bedrock. Each takes 300-600 sacks of concrete and a lot of labor. The project is supported by Utooni Development, a community based organization based in Makuini District south of Kisesini. The villages and members provide labor in return for eventual access to the water. Late in the afternoon, we visited a series of dams close to Kisesini. We followed the stream and saw 5 of 6 dams built since 2009. The dams were filled with sand, but none of them had water and there was little evidence of water being harvested from the sand that had filled the dams. This led us to question the concept. Does this mean that the water from the last rain has already been used or is the water too deep to reach? If the water is in the sand, it isn’t very accesible for irrigation. GHP will continue investigate this approach to providing water in this arid region. At this point we are still uncertain whether sand dams will scontribute to our strategies for improving the health of the communities by addressing nutrition and agriculture.
This is Elizabeth Mutheu Mbunda and she is a now healthy and happy 5 and a half month old. She was born in July 2011 and was very premature. After she delivered the baby at home, she called Alice, her village CHW. Alice promptly called Nurse Nichlas Mutuku and Dr. Tomedi, who came to pick her up and take her to Machakos, the nearest Hospital with incubators. Elizabeth stayed in the hospital for 3 weeks before she was healthy enough to go home to Syokisinga. She has been very healthy ever since and has been attending the outreaches regularly. She has 4 brothers and 3 sisters who all help to take care of her at home.
After having busy monthly outreach on Saturday in Syokisinga, I was able to sit down with a mother and child who have been attending the outreaches regularly since the first one in July of 2009. The outreaches, which are sponsored by GHP, are conducted at very rural sites where hospital care is diificult to access. The outreaches provide malnutrition screening, immunizations for pregnant women and children under 5yrs, family planning, and prenatal labs/care. These are services the women may not have been albe to reach, as the nearest clinic is several hours walk. I was able to see, firsthand, how GHP has helped save lives. Naomi was identified at the very first outreach as being severely malnurished and was treated with proper food supplementation. Included is a photo of her today.
Naomi Kakethe was brought in by her mom to the outreach this past Saturday. She was found at the very first outreach with a Z score of -3SD, whish indicates severely malnurished. She was started on Plumpinut in July 2009 and moved to unimix before coming off at 3yrs old. She has been attending the outreaches regularly and has not needed food supplements ever since. She is now well over 3yrs old, born in May 2008, and doing very well. She is very social and loves to smile. She has 2 brothers and is the middle child. Her favorite food is ugali.