May 27, 2023
Not everyone has the privilege of easy access to healthcare, but organizations like the African Centre for Community Investment in Health (ACCIH) are dedicated to bridging this gap and revolutionizing healthcare service delivery. An exemplary demonstration of their commitment occurred on May 27th, during the Northeastern Dialogue of Civilization 2023 trip to Chemoril, in Tiaty West sub-county of Baringo County, one of the two mobile clinics offering vital healthcare services at the community level that I had the opportunity to attend. Chemoril village, being in a remote area, poses significant challenges for its residents when it comes to accessing healthcare facilities. The nearest available option, Chemolingot sub-county hospital, requires individuals to undertake arduous journey on foot or Boda Boda (Motorcycle transport system at a cost), cover a long distance. However, the arrival of ACCIH’s mobile clinic brought a ray of hope to the community. This initiative supplied a lifeline for those in need, granting them the opportunity to receive essential screening services, such as measurements of Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) for children to evaluate their nutritional status, immunizations, deworming medications, treatment for minor ailments and more. By taking healthcare services directly to the community, ACCIH has exemplified their dedication to reaching individuals who are often underserved or face geographical barriers. Their mobile clinics have helped to ease the burden of accessing healthcare services for the people of Chemoril village and more, providing them with crucial medical support and proving the transformative potential of community level healthcare interventions.
Our team was warmly received by the community members, who extended their hospitality and welcomed us to their village. As we began unloading our supplies and setting up the clinic, we observed the community eagerly engaging in basic health education sessions on neglected tropical diseases that include kala-azar, trachoma and snake bite envenoming. It was heartening to witness their enthusiasm and willingness to learn about essential healthcare practices, most importantly prevention and control of these diseases. Once our setup was complete, we took the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the community, the purpose of our visit and the goals we aimed to achieve together. The community’s response was overwhelmingly positive. They expressed gratitude for our presence and embraced us with open arms. The warmth and genuine affection we received from the villagers reinforced our belief in the importance of service towards others. It was clear that building a strong rapport and trust with the community is crucial to effectively provide healthcare services and creating sustainable change.
During my time at the clinic, I took part in a range of activities aimed at improving the community's health and well- being. One of my responsibilities was distributing deworming medication to children under five. It was a rewarding experience to witness the positive impact it had on their overall health. Additionally, I assisted in providing snacks and drinks to women and children who were patiently waiting to receive treatment. This simple act brought a sense of comfort and relief to their faces, making the waiting period a little more bearable. Moreover, I had the privilege of visiting a local homestead, which proved to be an eye-opening experience. Witnessing the living conditions of the community members and understanding their challenges further motivated me to contribute in any way I could. It was heartwarming to see everyone coming together and lending a helping hand to make a difference in people’s lives.
In the face of diverse languages and geographical origins, we converged with an unwavering determination to extend a helping hand to those in dire circumstances. Surpassing the barriers of linguistic dissimilarity, our shared purpose transcended words as we communicated through the language of gestures. It was awe-inspiring to witness the fusion of students and community members, exchanging laughter, embracing playfulness, and immortalizing countless moments through the lens. This transformative journey served as a resounding call, reaffirming the utmost significance of bringing healthcare to the grassroots, meeting individuals exactly where they stand. When access seems elusive, it becomes our sacred duty to traverse the distance and bestow upon them the indispensable care they deserve.