Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Day at Our Clinic

~ by Michelle Kiprop
ELI Family Nurse Practitioner

While studying to become a nurse practitioner, I chose to specialize in Family Practice because I figured in this setting I would see just about everything. And boy was I right! I’d love to write about our typical day but I’m not sure we really have one...

I’m the only American at the clinic; the rest of our staff are amazing Kenyans with a boatload of experiences. We have two highly trained RN’s, a Clinical Officer (very similar to a physician’s assistant), a dental technician and a laboratory technician.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays we provide antenatal care and do well child immunizations. We typically have many malaria cases throughout the year. The clinic staff cares for patients from all walks of life and with many different types of problems. We may see a 2-month-old baby and then treat the grandmother who brought her in the same visit. One of my recent weekend clinic adventures was suturing up machete wounds from a domestic dispute.

Our clinic theme is “We treat, God heals”.

One of my favorite aspects of working in the clinic is helping the mama’s deliver babies. Last night was one of those special nights. A little after midnight I got the phone call “She is fully dilated and getting ready to push, you better come now.” William, my husband, got up with me to go to the clinic. We put on our gumboots (rain boots) and tromped through the mud using our flashlights to get to the clinic.

The patient was a 16-year-old I had been following in antenatal clinic. When I walked in the room the mama broke out in a huge smile and thanked me for coming. That moment alone was worth the midnight trek through the mud. If my presence could induce a smile like that at full dilation, the trip was most definitely worthwhile. Bernard, the nurse on call, declared that as I had followed her all the way through, I should be the one to deliver the baby. Thus far I’ve only assisted but haven’t actually taken the lead. Bernard coached me through step by step. I couldn’t have done it without him. And by the way, I still consider myself to have assisted in the delivery. I don’t think we medical professionals should get the credit for delivering the baby when it is the mom who does all the hard work!

Somewhere between 1:30 and 2:00 Karen Jemutai made her grand entrance. It was a difficult delivery with some minor complications. But I’m pleased to announce that both mom and baby are doing great this morning. What a joy it is to watch a new baby take her first breath and scream out her protest as she enters this world. Then those little eyes start blinking and taking it all in. Those first minutes are so precious. Mom and gogo (grandma) thought that I should name the baby. They asked me if I wanted to name her Michelle after myself. I told them that I was honored but I thought the mom should choose. Mama and baby Karen stayed overnight and are getting ready to walk home as I type. That’s right! Just eight hours after delivery mom wraps up the baby and walks her home.

Life in rural Africa is very, very different from life in the US!

Services offered at the Chebaiywo Clinic includes the following:
1. Curative (The treatment of injury or illness of just about any type i.e. from sprained ankles to malaria)
2. Laboratory Services (including HIV testing and counseling)
3. Maternal Health, Infant/Child Health, and Family Planning
4. Basic Dental Services (Usually resulting in tooth extraction)
5. Preventative Services: Sale of Mosquito nets and Water Guard (kills parasites and bacteria from well water to make it safe for drinking)
6. Outreach Services: Mobile Clinic (We literally take the clinic on the road to a remote location)
7. Reproductive Health Training Sessions (focused for local midwives)
8. Pharmaceutical Services
9. Maternity/Deliveries

Sunday, March 16, 2008

ELI Staff Update: Jane Kiptoo

You may know one of our ELI Kenya staff members named Jane Kiptoo. Jane is married to Bernard Kiptoo, who is the nurse in charge at the Chebaiywa clinic (our local health clinic). They have been married for four years and have one daughter, Mercy Jepkemboi.

Jane was raised and went to elementary and high school in the Chebaiywa community. After completing high school, she spent one year taking care of Joshua Rogers, Don and Amy Rogers firstborn son. Joshua loved his "Auntie Jane" as she took great care of him. She then went to Kericho to study for one year to become a nurse aide. After completing the course, she returned to her community of Chebaiywa when the clinic was just beginning.

In October 2001, Jane obtained a job at the Chebaiwya clinic as a nurse aide. She has worked very diligently for 6 years at the clinic doing a variety of jobs and having a variety of responsiblities. In 2006, Jane was able to attend a one month training to become a VCT counselor (Voluntary Counseling and Testing) and is now trained to counsel and test individuals for HIV.

Jane is an excellent counselor, incredible servant, and a loving mother and wife. She is soft spoken, but also loves to share and laugh together with friends. Jane's desire is to see the clinic fully equipped so they can assist all people.

Since the Kenyan government did away with the role of nurse aide in clinics, Jane had a desire to further her studies to become a nurse. Her prayer in 2005 was "that God will open the door for me to complete my nursing school so I will be recognized by the government." Over the last three years, she applied to several nursing schools and continued to have faith in God that He would answer. In September 2007, she was called for an interview at Pentecostal Church of East Africa (PCEA) Tumutumu Hospital School of Nursing (which is near Nairobi, about 6 hours from home). More than 100 people interviewed for 30 positions, and in October, she received a letter saying that she was one of the 30 who were chosen. We are all grateful to God for this answer to her prayer.

During the post-election violence, we were all concerned wondering whether or not she would be able to attend the school as it is located in an area of a different tribe and traveling the roads to get there was unsafe. However, after much prayer and consultation with the school, she and Kiptoo (her husband) felt that things were okay and they traveled to the school on February 18.

The ELI staff and clinic committee gathered at David's house the Friday evening before Jane's departure for a small party to say goodbye to Jane and pray for her. It was a wonderful time of fellowship as we sent Jane off with God's blessings. We would like to share Jane's prayer requests with you and ask you to lift her and her family up in prayer for the following:

1. Safe travels to school (her husband, Kiptoo, is escorting her so also pray for safe travels as he comes back home). (They traveled to and fro without any incidents.)
2. Peace of heart and mind as she begins school while leaving her daughter, Mercy, and her husband back at home.
3. Good friends at school.
4. Commitment and dedication to her studies.

Jane is taking a Diploma course for Kenya Registered Community Health Nurse which will take 3 1/2 years. She will complete the course in July 2011. We will all greatly miss her as she has been such a vital staff member assisting in all areas. She is responsible, dedicated and committed to serving the community. She is also a gifted teacher and has greatly helped me in training our Traditional Birth Attendants. Jane and her family as well as us appreciate your prayer for Jane and her family.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

ELI Anti-Alcohol: New intake at Ilula

On Thursday, a new group of just 5 men and women moved into the training center at Ilula for rehab. The one-month program starts with "cold turkey" detoxification, followed by the Christian 12-step program. It's an intense time of healing and discipleship, and the men and women need your prayers.

Please also pray for Mark and Francis, our staff members who are leading the program in Ilula, for revelation and wisdom as well as for endurance during this difficult month.