Kenyan Characters

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by Cynthia Vukets on July 28, 2009

 

Stephen Ndoro stands in his rural clinic

Stephen Ndoro stands in his rural clinic

 

Name: Stephen Ndoro

Hometown: Kilongo, Coast Province

Age: 50

Profession: Nurse, community health

Stephen treats about 100 patients a day in a three-room clinic in rural Kenya. At the Mtaa dispensary, he dresses wounds, immunizes children, treats respiratory illnesses common to the region, conducts HIV tests and delivers babies. Not too many babies, he says, as most healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies still choose to give birth at home with traditional midwives.

As he shows a group of visitors around the small building, he explains how the community clinic works. He is the only formally trained health worker in the area. He has one assistant at Mtaa – a community health worker who earns the equivalent of about $30 Cdn per month. Technically these workers are supposed to be volunteers, but most people in the area have families to support and can’t work full-time for free. So to help encourage support workers to stay at community clinics, a small salary is scraped together, mostly from user fees. Each patient pays 10 Kenyan shillings to visit the clinic – less than a quarter.

The dispensary is ten years old. Enough electricity to power the place comes from solar panels on the roof. A water tank holds enough rainwater to sustain the patients. And the Kenyan government ensures a “pharmacy” the size of a closet is stocked with vaccines, antibiotics and other medicines. But the place is just too small, laments Stephen: “This place is so open. It’s congested. There can be contamination.” He is hoping someone will step in with the cash needed to build a bigger facility.

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Kenyan Characters | Lowdown Online | Kenya today
07.28.09 at 9:41 pm

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