Since 2008 we’ve held three medical camps a year with volunteer specialty-doctors from Kansas and Texas. When travel restrictions were imposed in April of 2020, we quickly pivoted to meet the moment.
First, we hired pediatrician Dr. Joy Masinde, our first in-house physician. And with the support of our US volunteer doctors, we successfully carried out two telehealth medical camps.
Still, we could not reach several patients as the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic devastated our community; many lost jobs and relocated to their rural homes. When the government instituted country-wide travel restrictions, those patients could not travel back to Maai Mahiu. We couriered critical medication to those we could and, in doing so, found that we couldn't reach several patients by phone. Upon investigation, we learned that patients switched off phones or changed numbers because, in the current economic climate, they could not pay back mobile-money loans.
As lock-down restrictions eased and the economy saw an up-tick, patient turn-out improved during the October camp.
We are gathering contacts, and by the February 2021 medical camp, we hope to have reconstituted our database and serve all 222 patients in our Neuro-Health Program.