Kenya: Lodwar District Hospital Support
Real Medicine Foundation is committed to new projects which demonstrate a real need in the area and serve to strengthen existing health system structures without building parallel ones. When RMF’s CEO Dr. Martina Fuchs visited Turkana during a drought in September 2009, she realized that RMF’s work in setting up health clinics for the drought victims would not suffice – many of the more seriously ill patients needed in-patient hospital care or care requiring the use of major equipment which can only be found at a referral hospital.
Lodwar District Hospital (DH) is the only functional government regional referral hospital for all of Turkana region, spanning a population of almost 900,000. This is where the vast majority of the Turkana people go when they need more elaborate care that cannot be treated at dispensaries, health centers, or private health clinics. Lodwar DH has been struggling for years with wards in need of major repair and supplies and drugs which come in with great irregularity from the government health supplies department in Nairobi. The situation has become so dire that patients are often requested to purchase disposables and medicines themselves in Lodwar town because the hospital cannot provide them. Dr. Fuchs realized back in 2009 that referral care can only be improved for the Turkana people if the hospital could receive some additional support to regularize stocks, maintain the infrastructure and equipment, and conduct on-the-job training. A little could go quite a long way here.