The hospitals in Africa
The fact that the median age of many African countries remains in the 40s comes as no surprise when you walk through the doors of some of the medical facilities in Africa.
While we were in Nanyuki, Kenya I had the time and the pleasure of checking out 3 different health facilities. The first was the Mary Immaculate Clinic – run by Sister Catherine – a very bubbly Kenyan nun, a nurse and a midwife. Sister Catherine sits me down and gives me a cup of coffee and some bread. She tells me she is desperate for funding so that she can expand her clinic to include a maternity wing so that women can come and give birth at the clinic, remain there for at least 24 hours before they get discharged. She knows that the current situation in rural Kenya is poor- home births are common, and with home births come many complications.
She comes for a walk down town with me to Nanyuki District Hospital – the government hospital in Nanyuki. At the moment the nurses and the doctors are all on strike and have been for a couple of weeks. Normally they have an x-ray machine and can do ultrasound scans but with the strike, the hospital is a ghost town.
My next stop is the Humuru Health Centre – a missionary health care centre which is basically a hospice for people with HIV and AIDS. I meet another nun – a lady from Poland who is in charge of the facility who shows me around. At the moment she tells me, the situation is grave. There are no beds left and they have had to make some exceptions for some of the patients who were in the Nanyuki District Hospital who had been left in their beds unattended. With no one to look after them, these people would have died if it was not for the Humuru Health Centre who was able to help. The polish Sister doesn’t know what to do if the strike lasts for much longer.
With healthcare facilities so basic, it is no wonder that in times when the health needs of our clients on TDA have needs demanding more than what our small clinic on the Lunch Truck has to offer, and more than what the facilities in local hospitals and health facilities can offer, it is necessary to organise an evacuation to a bigger centre such as Nairobi where there are facilities and resources almost as good as back home!
— Claire Pegler