July 2nd, after two long flights from the Netherlands, we arrived safely in Nairobi and travelled the next day by road to Oyugis. A scenic drive through the Rift Valley with a short stop in Narok, we drove along the famous Masai game reserve. Finally, Oyugis and the Matata Hospital were in sight.
Oyugis lies in the western Nyanza Province, one of the poorest regions of Kenya. The people are poor or very poor, living on about US 2 per day. There is some agriculture, and industry in the city. The region is densely populated. It is a third world area.
The reunion with Dr John Malago, the CEO of the hospital, is cordial. We have a brief discussion and make a tour of the hospital. The hospital is overcrowded with malaria patients; even in the kitchen the patients occupy the new beds, donated by the Swiss Order of Malta; malaria still is a serious infectious disease in the tropics.
After a light meal to bed in the small apartment opposite the hospital.
At request of the Order of Malta, the purpose of this working visit primary is to review the renovation of ONGALO PRIMARY SCHOOL and RANYIENYA PRIMARY SCHOOL and the contents of the containers they have sent. Secondly, for the Dutch Albert Schweitzer Fund, to check the ongoing construction of a hand-well. In addition I’ll look at the current projects at Matata Hospital and in the surrounding communities.
Ongalo primary school and Ongalo shallow well
Ongala is located in the very hot and humid Lake Victoria area; nearby is Homa Bay, home of the Western-Kenya County government. The countryside road is very long.
January 12, 2015, after a comprehensive renovation, the school was officially opened by the Matata Foundation board.
The about 500 pupils and their teachers show very pleased with the renovated classrooms and the new school furniture - donated by the Swiss Order of Malta. Previously, many children had to sit on the ground as desks failed. The classrooms, a total of eight, look good. Especially in the rainy season, school bags shouldn’t be put against the walls to avoid pollution. Paper bins are needed. I talked with the school management about their responsibility in these...
The hand well is functioning properly. Everyone is happy to have access to clean and safe drinking water. The schoolchildren can now, after using the toilet wash hands, preventing diarrhoea.
The refurbishment has brought more structure in teaching; now more pupils might flow to secondary school. The renovation and construction have cost € 27,000.
Ranrienya primary school
The renovation of Ranrienya School took two months - May and June 2015. It is a fairly large school, built in 1980. As resources lacked, hardly any maintenance has been performed.
There are about 800 pupils. The former poor building condition, with dusty and cracked floors, caused infections and respiratory problems. The corrugated iron roof allowed for very high indoor temperature. Children weren’t able to receive a good education.
Funds for the extensive renovation and refurbishment were provided by the Order of Malta, Switzerland. Now, pupils are very pleased with new classrooms and desks. Teaching staff is provided a separate meeting room.
All class rooms now have insulated ceilings, keeping the temperature down. The attention to the following education is therefore strongly encouraged. It looks great, one still smells the paint. The children say to do more their best, and promise to keep this up!
The renovation costs amounted to: € 30,000.
Oredo deep borehole
The € 25,000 deep borehole has been donated by two anonymous donors from the Netherlands, who January 2015 attended the working visit in this area. Since 8 May 2015, Oredho community has gained access to safe consumption water.
Oredho Community consists of 5,360 people. The area is too dry for a hand well and the rains are irregular. As a result, there are considerably less diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and diarrhoea.
The water may be taken daily at a water kiosk for which each family has to pay Ks 0.50 per month.
The revenues are reserved for possible maintenance and to pay the power bill.
The total costs are €28,609. MrMennoandMrsTamaraAukesandtwoanonymousdonorshavepaid forthe remaining costs.
Order of Malta, Switzerland´s Container June 2015
June 19th, the third container arrived from Switzerland in Oyugis. It mainly contains hospital beds, maternity beds, chairs, infusions, wheelchairs, generators, and soap and school furniture for Ranyienya School. With the recent Malaria outbreak, these beds can directly be used for the many patients in the Matata Hospital. The chairs are used in waiting rooms, especially for mothers and their babies. With this new functional - high and low - beds and new mattresses, the medical team can provide better care to the patients.
Inspection of the shallow well: Albert Schweitzer Fund Nederland
The well is situated in the Matata Hospital area. The excavations have been completed, the concrete edge also. The pump is now being placed and then the well can be taken into use. Report and photos have been transmitted to the Albert Schweitzer Fund.
Kosele shallow well
Soon, hand water well will be constructed here. It’s been donated by the pupils of Action Adoption of Canisius College in The Netherlands and Ane Hoekstra, Committee member of the Matata Foundation. In order to raise this money, the students have organized a variety of actions, such as washing cars and engaging sponsors. 10% of the sum needed is collected by the Kosele community itself. The total costs amount to € 4,000. The well might be completed in three month time.
Kabondo shallow well: Stichting Lameris
Kabondo community counts 1160 people. The area was devoid of clean water; drinking water had to be collected from the roofs (rainy season) or taken from the 7 km away river Awach, which water is always coloured red due the red soil of the Kisii highlands. So, the construction of this hand well is more than necessary.
Water was found at 27 feet, but to yield sufficient water every day, another 10 feet deep has to be dug. The total costs are € 4,000, the greater part donated by Stichting Lameris, the Kabondo village community contributed € 400 (10%).
For fetching water the villagers have to pay 0.20 Kenyan shillings. These revenues are earmarked for well maintenance. This system, as has been shown elsewhere, works great. The local people are responsible and bit by bit it becomes their own well; in fact, the entire village owns the well.
Ongamo community is located in the interior, far away from Oyugis. October 18, 2012 the dispensary was opened, with support from Cordaid and an anonymous donor. The construction costs were € 40,217.
The dispensary looks very neat and clean. During the visit, 20 patients are present: mothers and their children, almost all of them malaria infected. The nursing staff has sufficient medicines and malaria nets available which are handed out. Records are kept properly as required by the Ministry of Health in Nairobi.
Ongamo deep borehole
Several attempts to dig a hand well failed because of the rocky and dry underground. The anonymous dispensary donor contributed for the deep borehole. Now, 36,000 people gained access to safe and clean water. January 14, 2015, the borehole was officially opened by the Board of the Foundation Matata. Since the borehole is available, only one person died of cholera, where in the past dozens of people from this community deceased.
By pipelines from this borehole, Ongamo Dispensary is equipped with safe and clean water, a major sustainable progress which benefits the entire community.
Schweizerische Kommende des Johanitterordens
April 2015, this Order donated 8 stethoscopes and 6 sphygmomanometers to the Matata Hospital. Now all departments have access to these instruments, medical care has actually improved.
In 2014, 213 babies were born: 74 boys and 139 girls. 1134 women made use of the FAMILY PLANNING programme, resulting in fewer pregnancies. Medical information to pregnant women and guidance in the hospital during pregnancy and childbirth did the death rate drop for both mother and child. Awareness and use of malaria nets have also contributed to fewer malaria infections.
2640 babies have received baby milk powder in 2014, leading to less undernourishment and better survival. These led to significantly fewer babies are undernourished and have the chance to live!
According to Dr Malago, the highest turn up comes from the poor HIV / AIDS affected families.
10,860 patients received medical attention at the hospital in 2014. Unfortunately, 213 patients deceased. 145 surgeries have been performed.
The entire staff and the board of the hospital have followed extensive training in 2014 and the first half of 2015. This training was made possible by a major anonymous donor and IMPULSIS.
Now, the staff is motivated and able to give better medical care to the often seriously ill children. I’ve been invited to attend the weekly refresher training where pictures were used as practical examples. The entire staff is very enthusiastic. Especially because all departments have computers with patient files, errors are significantly reduced. Another advantage is the availability of insurance data. Patient insurance is encouraged in order the hospital to generate more revenue.
Essentially of course is the improvement of the medical care!
All departments have been visited and inspected. To the extent of my judgement, it looks okay.
Once again, many, many malaria patients. In addition, ordinary life goes on and babies are born.
There now are a new administration area and a new registration department. All incoming and outgoing mail and bills are administered through the new PC system. All in all, a great progress has been made. Everyone shows to be happy with the financial support from the Netherlands.
The days have flown by. It was an intense working visit. The time has come to fly back to the Netherlands.
Saying goodbye to the Matata Hospital and the schoolchildren in the area; to the many mothers and babies at Oredho and in Ongamo Dispensary. The faces and the stories of happy schoolchildren, who have sung so beautiful, will definitely stay with me.
To know these children have a good future ahead.... makes me excited.... collectively something has been achieved and passed on.... beautiful!
Access to medical care, access to clean and safe water, access to education.... for large groups of villagers in western Kenya ... thanks to the support from the Netherlands and Switzerland!
Friday, July 10th, 2015, they wave me off in Oyugis ... and John takes me to the airport in Kisumu ... ready for three long flights ... back to Europe!
OSIEPE WA....NYAKA WAROM KENDO...TILL WE MEET AGAIN.
P.S. 1: A word of thanks certainly deserves Faith, who cooked and took care of me every day. Faith cooks on her haunches on a one pit gas burner!
P.S. 2: Also a word of thanks to Dr John Malago and his entire team: they realized all donated projects in an excellent manner. John, thank you very much for taking care of me!