I just added a link to a feed of news about African Health. Look on the left side of the page and you’ll see headlines from five recent stories from MedWorm.
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Albuquerque 11 Oct 2010. Sean Galagan is in Kisesini. Sean is a student who volunteered to continue the work begun by Jacque Garcia in July which seeks to identify every household with children under age five is in Kisesini. His task is large. There are seventy-five villages served by the clinic. and many of the homes are widely scattered. There are two community health workers in each village and they have been keeping records of their households.
Sean and Jacque have been using samples of villages and going out on the back of the Chief’s motorcycle to attempt to find the houses with children and verify the data in earlier surveys.
This serves two purposes. One is to have good data about the population we serve. The second is directly related to our main goal: reducing deaths of children and mothers. Good data about families will allow us to measure the effectiveness of the health care and disease prevention work that we are doing.
Sean is working with head nurse at the Kisesini clinic, Nicholas Ndonye. David Broudy, an epidemiologist, coordinates the survey and data gathering efforts around the project. Communication with volunteers can be challenging. Phone service between the US and Kenya is spotty and expensive. Kisesini, which is pretty far off-the-grid, has email even though it doesn’t have electricity (aside from a solar panel). Kisesini is within sight of cell towers and the clinic has a modem to connect a computer to the cellular system.
Nairobi, Kenya Oct 6, 2010. Global Health Partnerships received word that the Toyota Troop Carrier that it purchased in July had cleared customs, and has been registered. Normally buying a new vehicle is a straigth-forward proposition; not so in Kenya. Back in April 2010, after our Rav 4, tiny SUV, died, we decided to find and purchase a new vehicle. Many recommendations pointed to Toyota as being so reliable and serviceable that its trucks are the favorites of safari operators. An option was available to arrange the seats to accommodate a stretcher.
With two rather miraculous donations, the hurdle or raising around $50,000 was quickly overcome. Next we discovered that in order to purchase the truck as a non-profit, and avoid about $20,000 in duty and taxes, we had to be officially registered as a Non-governmental organization in Kenya. This took a couple of months and considerable haranguing to just get the application reviewed. Once we were an NGO we could apply to purchase the Troop (or Patient) Carrier at the originally planned price.
Eight months later, Oct 6, 2010, we received word from the Nairobi dealer that GHP now has a fully registered, licensed and insured vehicle.
The vehicle will be used to transport patients to hospital and to get GHP staff and volunteers to the villages to provide health care, education, and to carry out medical investigations and health promotion. GHP in collaboration with Kenyan Ministry of Health and Kisesini Village operates a dispensary in a remote are of eastern Kenya. The clinic serves about 35,000 people living in 75 villages within about a 20 mile radius. The roads are so bad that an off-road motorcycle is often the fastest way for even government officials to get around.
Albuquerque, Oct 9 2010. The board of Global Health Partnerships met today to begin planning the future of the other organization. GHP is an US non-profit and Non-governmental organization, that works in developing countries as partners with local community organizations and health care providers to improve the health and well being of the poor and marginalized throughout the world. The board considered current strengths, challenges, resources, and opportunity while looking ahead three to five years.
Among GHP’s strengths are active, growing, programs in Kenya and Uganda that address needs identified by local communities. Though different, both projects emphasize collaboration with local governments and organizations and result in improved capacity of individuals and communities to address their own needs. Not surprisingly, reliable, sustainable funding is a persistent challenge. Like many young organizations, GHP needs to increase the involvement of others in managing the organization, marketing and fund raising.
A promising direction for fund raising is the Run with Kenyans event that was held for the first time in Albuquerque this year. Donna Tully, a member of the board, has built many contacts with the local community including Kenyans, many of whom are and have been world class runners, and business sponsors such as Midtown Sports and Wellness. Plans are currently underway for the second run which will take place May 14, 2011. Entrants will pay to enter and run or race with some of the fastest runners in the world. Prizes include baskets and cloth products made by the people we work with in Africa.