& HEALTH INITIATIVES
STUDENT AND FAMILY HEALTH CARE
Africa Connect's medical and health initiatives include both emergent and preventative medical care to the children of Baraka HSS Academy. All new students enrolled receive pre-enrollment physicals which include HIV testing. Services are provided in conjunction with a nearby clinic, a small facility with better than average lab equipment, diagnostic and treatment capabilities. Emergent clinic visits continue throughout the school year, as necessary, for children with acute illnesses such as malaria.
Deworming is done annually at the school and the enrolled children participate in government-sponsored preventative health initiatives such as vaccination clinics. For HIV-positive children, HIV meds are available through the government. Preschool social workers facilitate enrollment in these services and make follow-up visits to the home to ensure the children consistently receive the medication.
A partnership has also been established with Cherangani Nursing Home, a small private hospital within easy travel distance of the school where more complicated cases are sent which cannot be handled at the local clinic.
The aim of preventative health initiatives is to maintain optimum health for the children and, through early medical intervention, prevent needless costly complications.
RURAL HEALTH CLINICS
For the last six years, Africa Connect's Director of Medical and Health Initiatives, Sue Choquette, has traveled from the U.S. for a one month trip to Kenya. Rural clinics are conducted in partnership with local churches and a team of local doctors, nurses and pharmacy technicians to provide clinics in rural villages which have limited or no medical facilities or care available.
In addition, attendees receive basic health instruction, and most importantly, the Gospel in their own language, verbally and in written form. We find that preaching the Word and healing the sick go hand-in-hand, as God's compassion is revealed to these hungry hearts. The villagers respond as eagerly to receiving the Word of God as they do the free medical care!
EMERGENCY INTERVENTION AND REFERRALS
Occasionally, a very serious case comes to our attention, either through a school clinic, or one of our rural health clinics, as was the case with Harun, a sweet 11 year old boy. His mother brought him, on her back, to our clinic in rural Muhkonge, as he was too weak to walk himself. We learned that he suffered from rheumatic heart disease, and because of lack of funds, had only sporadically been receiving his meds. We contacted the local clinic for further information and provided immediate funds to get him back on his medications. His condition was urgent. His organs were failing, and his heart valves were leaking blood into his lungs. We advised the mother to take him to hospital in Kitale, a journey beyond her financial means. As the U.S. team would be shortly returning home, Theresa Heaseman, our amazing hostess at Karibuni Lodge, assumed care and follow-up.
It's been a long and complicated journey for this young boy, and he still has a long way to go. But by God's grace, working through many different people, he has received the necessary operations, medication and rehab therapy. He is in school, an intelligent, happy child gifted in music and art, who has a future now because of the love of God extended by human hands. We eagerly await the final outcome - the revealing of God's plan in the life of one small child.
PREVENTIVE HEALTH INSTRUCTION
Preventative health education has become an area of focus because, indeed, most of the conditions treated - malaria; food and water-born illnesses; advanced wounds; chiggers - are preventable with simple measures consistently utilized. At each clinic, as the sick wait patiently for care, health lectures are presented verbally and in writing by Africa Connect and church members.
A new health initiative began in 2017, with a goal to identify capable willing people within the local churches who, with some basic training, could be used as resource people in their communities to carry on with preventative health teaching, render basic first aid, treat chiggers infestation, manage minor wounds, etc. Once again, the aim is to prevent minor issues from becoming major and costly. Many wound patients who have attended our clinics tell us their sores or wounds have been there for months or even years! It is impossible to treat these things in a single day. Immediate attention and prevention is key!
Additionally, this service to the community could be a powerful Gospel outreach as church members truly become the hands and feet of Jesus ministering to the poor and needy.