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  • Saraina Ulysse

Serving the Community Beyond Hospital Walls

May 27th, 2023

While healthcare is typically reserved and out-rolled within the walls of a health facility, such as a clinic or hospital, ACCIH is taking healthcare delivery to a new level and meeting individuals at the community level. On May 27th, the Northeastern Dialogue of Civilization 2023 took a trip to Chesakam, in Tiaty East sub-county, in Baringo County to set up one of the two mobile clinics being conducted that day. There individuals were able to access screening services, MUAC (Mid upper arm circumference) weight and height measurements for children to assess nutrition, immunization, deworming medication, etc. Given the remote nature of Chesakam village, individuals must walk long distances before reaching the nearest health care facility, which is Chemolingot Hospital. When we arrived, we were greeted by the community elders who were eagerly waiting for us to set up and start the clinic for the day. Once we had fully set up, we introduced ourselves to the community so that they may know who we are and why we are here today in their village. We were warmly greeted by the community; it was interesting how much they were grateful that we would come to them, and one elder even said that he loves and appreciates when we [foreigners] come to Chesakam. Next, the community was given an informative talk on visceral leishmaniasis (VL)/kala-azar or Termes as is known in the local Pokot dialect, reinforcing what it is, how deadly VL is if not treated, and the importance of being screened and diagnosed on time, as well as health talks in snake bites and trachoma. Patients were screened for VL and other diseases including malaria; it is important to note that out of the 43 patients screened for malaria, 15 were positive. During the clinic, I was involved with the distribution of deworming medication to children under five. The deworming medication was used to get rid of intestinal worms. We were able to give over 200 children deworming medication, after which they were given a piece of candy. At times it was difficult to give out the medication due to the language barrier when trying to assess the age of the child or when they cried as they did not want to take the medication. Though we spoke different languages, it was wonderful how with little hand gestures, both the students and community persons communicated. Our trip to Chesakam was exciting, fun, educational, and rewarding. At the community level, we were able to laugh, play, and take many pictures with them. This trip reinforced the need to bring healthcare to the community level and meet people where they are—if they cannot come to you, then you must go to them.

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