Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Ghandi

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sue Pharney's trip to Kenya

Thank you to One Nurse At A Time, and Barcos' Nightingales,  for helping support me on my medical mission to Kenya. Below is a brief account of my trip, and a few photos.

The team from Project Helping Hands, twenty six of us, all met together and assembled in Nairobi Kenya. We than drove seven hours to Oyugis where we hold medical clinics for the next 8 days. Oyugis is one of the areas in Kenya that has been hit the hardest by HIV and thus has hundreds of orphaned children and thousands of people in need of medical assistance. Everyday the team would walk three miles through the country side to get to the medical clinic site and would be greeted by a couple hundred people waiting in line to be seen. In total the team saw over two thousand people on this medical mission.

The team was able to help patients get HIV and TB testing and treat several for malaria and dengue fever. My personal nursing knowledge was greatly enhanced on this trip. I was able to help treat and diagnosis diseases I had learned about in nursing school but never seen. We also tried to provide as much health education as possible and make sure the medical treatments we were prescribing were sustainable after we left Kenya. I personally was reminded of the importance of health education and preventive care. One of the saddest cases I saw was a seven month baby seen for severe malnutrition and acute diarrhea. The baby weighed less than five kilograms and was severely dehydrated and lethargic. We paid for the baby to be admitted at the local hospital where she was treated for rota virus. When we left the baby was still hospitalized and was being tested for HIV as the mother was HIV positive and had breast fed the baby. Preventative care in the form of immunizations and nutrition good have prevented this from happening. Education on oral rehydration with diarrhea and not breast feeding when HIV positive could have also prevented the baby from becoming so sick. This case showed me how blessed we are in the states with our medical system even at a time when our medical system is under much scrutiny.

One of my favorite memories of my time in Kenya was our daily walk home. Everyday
around five o'clock after clinic was finished we would walk the three miles back to our hotel. Without fail we would be greeted by a hundred "jambo" and smiling faces and cheering children. It was not uncommon for little kids to come running up to us grab our hands and walk us home. I was touched by the Kenyan spirit and by the love and appreciation they had for us. I was over whelmed by the thanks they gave and the gratitude they had for a simple toothbrush or even just holding the hand of a "mzungu".

Thank you again to everyone who helped support me and make my medical mission to Kenya possible.

Susie Pharney