SCPI was originally set up with the input and support of the elders and villagers in the Maasai community of Olorte, one of Kenya’s most remote regions on the Tanzanian border.
Through the relationships built with the community, a clear need has been highlighted for a mobile clinic to provide basic healthcare treatment and education as well as an immunisation program to a population of over 13,000 people spread over 15 villages. The increasingly sedentary lifestyle of the Maasai has resulted in an escalation in sanitation-related and water-borne diseases, infant and childhood diseases, and HIV/AIDS.
Established healthcare facilities fail to reach the most remote regions and many villagers have to walk for a whole day to reach an existing clinic. This means that they only seek help in crises and there is no capacity to provide long-term health management or maternity care. Sadly, there are cases where patients do not receive adequate treatment in time.
The fact that there are no baseline data or records on the Maasai health status in southern Kenya adds another dimension to the public health challenge.
The essential medical care needs of the community are:
- Treatment of Malaria, Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, Typhoid and other tropical diseases
- Health promotion and education
- Mother and child healthcare
- Management of HIV/AIDS, including education and treatment
- Basic vaccination programme for preventable illnesses
- Basic oral healthcare and education
The skills required to run and manage the clinic are available within the community. A local nurse called Florence has been employed, who has been specifically trained for the area’s needs and has been allocated a driver and guard. During the initial set-up phase, Florence is gathering data to analyse patterns in specific common healthcare issues to ensure that maximum assistance is given to patients.
To assist other communities to set up their own medical care, with local staff, and to become independent from outside help through self-funding programmes similar to the Olorte project. This is based on the patients paying an affordable nominal fee for their treatment; this will give the community ownership of the service while at the same time funding it. Communities in Uganda and northern Kenya are currently being considered.