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  • Katherine O'Brien

Ewuaso Health Center – Kajiado

May 2023

In mid-May, we made a day trip west of Nairobi to a health center in Kajiado county. Ewuaso Health Center recently began a visceral leishmaniasis (VL) treatment program in late 2021, as the result of an increase in VL cases in the region. Previously, patients in this area would need to travel all the way to Chemolingot Sub-County Hospital, which is a 6 hour drive north. This is a timely and expensive burden for many patients to overcome, thus the establishment of a treatment program at Ewuaso. ACCIH played a key role in the implementation of this program, so the purpose of our trip was to check in on the status and functioning of the program and see what has been done since.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the Ewuaso team and sat down with the clinician in charge of VL treatment. We asked general health systems assessment questions to learn more about what Ewuaso experiences as a clinic. Next, we stopped by the laboratory to determine the status of their VL test kits and take a look at their data. We had noticed that their VL testing had slowed down since we were last there, so we discussed the importance of surveillance and diagnosis. We also talked to them about the proper usage of the rk39 test kit.

VL in the region has slowed down in the past two years, indicating successful outbreak response efforts by all the parties involved. However, we also learned that a lot of the VL patients were still coming from very far away.

We toured the rest of the hospital and learned about the hospital’s capacity. We noticed that many of the beds said that they were donated as part of the Covid-19 response. This was interesting to see because it was a clear example of the pandemic response in Kenya, and this is something that we had not seen a whole lot of over the past couple of months. Finally, we went into Ewuaso town and had some tea and mandazis and discussed how we can support Ewuaso and the Kajiado community further in the future.

Our visit to Ewuaso was an excellent lesson in how do conduct health systems assessments, health education, and how to evaluate the impact of your previous work. It was really interesting to see what had been going on since our last ACCIH visit in Fall of 2021, and we know that our partnership with the Ewuaso community will only continue to grow.

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