Health Clinic and General Realizations

11/11

Wednesday June 6th was another interesting day. I went to the other KMET clinic on the other side of town in the morning. When I got there I learned about their Out Patient Therapeutic Program (OTP) and what it entails. So basically, this program was setup to improve nutrition in babies and children in the surrounding slums since a large majority of children there are very malnourished and underfed or not fed at all. We saw about 5 or 6 babies earlier in the morning though the program. When they come in the babies are weighed, their height is measured, and their mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) is taken. From this data and a questionnaire sheet the general health of the baby can be determined. After these procedures are done the baby is determined to be placed in moderate acute malnourishment or severe acute malnourishment. Two of the babies were originally in the moderate category but it was found today that their MUAC had become too low (anything below 10.8cm is bad) and so they were transferred to the severe acute malnourishment category. Based upon the weight of the baby there is a chart that then determines how many packets of a nourishing supplement the baby must receive each week. For example, one baby was 6.6kg so the mother received 21 packets of the nourishing supplement for the baby to eat the following week. Then, they must come back in the end of the next week for another check-up. After that 5 or 6 mothers came in for an ultrasound and it just so happened that someone had dropped an ultrasound from the main KMET office off this morning since the clinic I was at today does not have one on hand at all times. Many of the people at the clinic did not remember how to operate and do the procedure for expectant mothers coming in for an ultrasound check up so I got to fly solo and do all of the ultrasounds as I taught the clinic officers what to do. From measuring gestation period to determining placenta position and how to properly measure fetal heart rate; I was able to teach everyone a lot which was really fun because the ultrasound is something I really seem to understand and I have a lot of fun doing the procedures. After each ultrasound I write up a report to send into the office then. Today all mothers had good reports from their ultrasounds and at least two of the mothers were determined to have due dates sometime in July.

After work, Emily, Ludi, and I met up with Taylor (also from Gettysburg) and Cody from Atlanta who is also working in Kisumu this summer with a different program. The view was awesome and it was nice to talk about work and how everything was going so far. I have a piki piki driver that I can trust and gives me honest prices so I always call him when I need a ride home since walking isn’t an option due to safety concerns. It is always an awesome ride home with James, the piki piki driver, because he is like my own little tour guide. He constantly points out landmarks and updates me on Kenya history or informs me of a national holiday coming up. Tonight was really interesting because he told me how he moved to Kisumu after the post-election violence that erupted in Kenya after the last election. He told me how he used to own a wood carving and wood shop business but during the post-election violence people destroyed everything he owned where he used to live so he was forced to move and tried Kisumu. Here he found a way to rent a motorcycle (piki piki) so that he could become a piki piki driver to make some money. He doesn’t have enough money to buy his bike but it is one of his dreams and his first priority of things to buy is always food. With the economy being so bad and crops not doing too well, he said business is hurting because other people also put food first in spending rather than paying for a piki piki. It sucks to see someone who is as kind hearted and hardworking as James barely even have the means to buy food. Sucks may seem like the wrong word to describe it but to me, it’s the most non-sugarcoated description. Most kids at home dream of having a huge house and a Porsche but James just wants to be able to afford a used up motorcycle that probably costs no more than $1,000 USD along with some food. He knows so much about the area too so it is always awesome to talk to him as we drive home.

Shane

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