Today, we improvise.

The day started with a visit with the new mother and her absolutely beautiful baby girl.  Dr. Michael was able to perform a neonatal examination on the baby with Julius the head clinician observing.  She was in perfect form and hardly made a peep when he did his examination.

 Dr. Hawkes performing a neonatal examination

Dr. Hawkes performing a neonatal examination

So off to the outreach we went only to discover that in fact the Chief of the community was having an engagement party for his daughter.  And well, when the Chief has an event everyone (and I mean everyone) goes.  The good news is that they said they’d make an announcement at the event and they expect a full turnout tomorrow.  We learned early on that the ability to adapt and improvise are skills one needs to survive in this environment.  We decided to switch our itinerary we had for Sunday to Saturday.  So we returned to the clinic and had a day of seeing more patients and did more classroom training which included lessons learned from the week.  

 A group of children at the outreach site.

A group of children at the outreach site.

We also began to distribute the prescription glasses we ordered for the community from our last trip.  We wanted to be here for the distribution so that Jemima (the clinician who has assumed the optometry duties) would be trained on how to properly fit the glasses and assure the patient has corrected vision.  Fortunately we’ve identified an eyeglass source in Nairobi who has offered deeply discounted glasses which Naweza and Fluorspar fund for the community.  

 Boy receiving prescription glasses

Boy receiving prescription glasses

We are quite happy to report that Jemima has continued to run Fluorspar’s vision clinic every Thursday at the clinic and at outreaches.  She’s learned how to determine the prescription using an auto refractor which was funded by Naweza.  She then sends us the list and we process the order with the eyewear company.  Today she learned the last part of the process which is to fit the glasses on the patient.  We are very hopeful this practice will continue and the community will have access to vision care on a sustainable basis.

Sadly, a 75 year old man came to the clinic who had suffered a stroke and is now paralyzed on his right side.  After examination it was determined he has atrial fibrillation which commonly causes stroke, especially for an elderly person.  Although not all cases like this one can be prevented, many can be through a proper chronic disease program.  Our plan is to explore purchasing an ECG module which will aid the clinic in diagnosing many types of cardiac conditions.  

A good news story is regarding the woman who came to the outreach yesterday and was diagnosed with diabetes by Dr. Ed.  She actually came to the clinic today to confirm the diagnosis and receive her medication.  One challenge here in Kenya is access to drugs.  Members of communities who are close enough to the Fluorspar clinic are the fortunate ones as they will have access.  Our goal is to empower the team at Fluorspar to identify people at risk of chronic disease so that those people are able to get the necessary treatment and in turn improve their health outcomes. 

Tomorrow, fingers crossed, we’ll have a busy day out our outreach.  The Fluorspar team has contacted the Chief and he assures us everyone will be there!

- Stacy