On Saturday Sept 24th, we held one of the bimonthly outreach clinics in Mekilingi, which is about an hour drive from Kisesini. As Vincent and I loaded up the supplies for the outreach (vaccines, syringes, depoprover injections,condoms, unimix, plumpinut, and oral rehydration suspension), he recieved two phone calls for ill patients. ‘What would we do without the ambulance?’ said Vincent,’it is a good thing that global health partnership does.’ The clinic is closed Saturdays, so we would need to take the patients to the closest health facility in Kitangi. As we loaded outreach supplies, we grabbed an IV kit and antibiotics and headed on our way. The first woman was 20minutes from Kisesini and she had been recently diagnosed with high blood pressure. We got her comfortable in the car and tore off down the dirt road to the second house. This old woman had been having diarrhea and vomiting for 3days and was dehydrated, but still able to walk to the car. As she climbed in, she laid her head on my shoulder for stability. We made it to Kitangi and helped the patients to the dispensary, which is open on the weekends.
We then continued to Mekilingi for the outreach. When we arrived, there were only about 10 mothers and babies, but by the end of the day we had weighed, measured and vaccinated about 40children and provided family planning to the women interested. We used both the WHO criteria to determine a child’s need for plumpinut or unimixm, along with the Moac, which is based on arm circumference. We found 4children who needed to be placed on unimix (moderately malnurished) and 1 needing plumpinut (severely malnurished). We also found some ‘strong’ (the term we use is plumpy) babies, too. Unfortunately, one child came in who was about a year in age, weighing 4.4kg. This child was less than -3 Zscore for the WHO criteria and was literally skin and bones (severe, acute malnutrition that is known as marismus). The mother repored that the baby refused breastmilk. The infant forumla over here is difficult to get (only in bigger cities, which are expensive to get transportation to) and it is VERY expensive (one can that lasts a week is 1,000Kenyashilling-about $10…which is more than most of these mothers would see in a week). It was a heart-breaking situation. So, we had the mother wait until we finished up at the outreach and she followed us in the ambulance to drop supplies off in Kisesini. Vincent then took her to Machakos to the hospital…he waited with her for 3hrs until she was seen and admitted. Vincent is an amazingly dedicated worker. Saturdays are usually his days off and it turned into a long one. He did everything without complaint.