Arrival at Fluorspar

 Arriving off the bush plane from Nairobi on the Fluorspar air strip

Arriving off the bush plane from Nairobi on the Fluorspar air strip

Jambo from Kenya!  After 2 days of meetings in Nairobi with potential partners in telemedicine and the World Spine Care Organization, we have finally arrived at our sister clinic Kenya Fluorspar.  

Fluorspar is a mine located in the Kerio Valley 90 kilometers from Eldoret.  It is so good to be back and see all of the bright and motivated staff at the clinic who we worked closely with this past November.  During that mission we began programs on Chronic Disease, Musculoskeletal and Vision.  We were quite happy to see that they have continued to do work in these areas and appear eager to reinforce those learnings on this trip.  

Our day began with clinic rounds involving cases of malaria and a snake bite (potentially by a black cobra) as well as classroom training on neonatal resuscitation and hypertension.  After lunch the team split up: Dr. Andy and Dr. Ed had a meeting with the mine manager and a tour of the mine and refinery to better understand their occupational health issues and costs, Dr. Sidiqa provided visual acuity training and Dr. Michael and Jennifer trained the staff on database development for the Chronic Disease program.  We also had a good discussion on developing Fluorspar’s first Community Health Care Worker Program which we hope to begin on this trip.  These are all official areas that we worked on, but the casual conversations held before and after these sessions are rich with relevant topics such as rabies (which sadly took the life of one of the children in the community) and mental health issues including alcoholism and domestic violence.

 Dr. Hawkes with a patient at the Field-Marsham Medical Centre

Dr. Hawkes with a patient at the Field-Marsham Medical Centre

One of my personal observations is that finally after 3 visits I see the beginnings of a relationship of mutual trust and respect.  One where I hope they feel our respect for the impressive level of care they already provide in the middle of rural Kenya.  And equally one where I sense their trust in consulting with our doctors without fear of judgment.  That in fact we are their partners here to help and provide as much expertise and training as possible.  

A favourite time of the day for me is during clinical rounds which we do first thing in the morning.  The clinical officer (which is equivalent to a nurse and would be the highest level of caregiver at the clinic) gives a proper history on a patient (which was one of the areas of training from the last trip) and our doctors in turn basically quiz them on how they would approach the case.  The doctors will walk them through the thought process for effective diagnosis and treatment strategies.  The style of teaching is effective and the learnings are incredible.  The room is packed with the clinic staff trying to soak in as much knowledge as possible so that they can offer more to their community when we leave, which is of course our goal - to have the health clinic operate at an even higher level when we are not here!

We have one more day in the clinic before heading to outreaches on Friday and Saturday.  Tomorrow, our itinerary includes Dr. Sidiqa overseeing Fluorspar’s weekly vision clinic which they began since our trip in November, as well as Dr. Andy’s training session with the clinic staff on MSK strategies.  We will be holding the session at Fluorspar’s Taekwondo center immediately following one of the community’s Taekwondo classes.  We will also be meeting with a company who supplies software supporting the community healthcare worker program.  The software basically will enable the healthcare worker to assign a risk value to the patient out in the field and quickly determine the course of action for treatment.

Thanks for reading!  And for photos of the day be sure to check us out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

- Stacy Francis