“I mean, everybody should have access to medical care. And, you know, it shouldn’t be such a big deal.” Paul Farmer
A few years ago, I read Paul Farmer’s biography “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder. Since learning about Farmer and reading his biography, I have been inspired by his commitment to community health in some of the poorest areas in the world. He has worked to provide suitable health care to rural and under-resourced areas in developing countries, beginning in Haiti. He and the organization he founded, Partners in Health, have transformed the way healthcare is administered around the world and provided the model for changing community health in under-resourced areas.
Of course, we don’t have Paul Farmer working in our health clinic, but I have thought a lot about him and his work as we have set up our clinic in Kibera. Paul Farmer’s life has been about providing healthcare to those who do not have access to it. He believes that healthcare is a fundamental human right. I believe that is what we are providing with our clinic in Kibera. Healthcare is expensive. In places in the world where the government does not provide healthcare, individuals are on the own and many times cannot afford the care they need. With the start of our clinic, we are providing free healthcare for basic needs to the students in our Academy and Penda Project as well as the women in Project Biashara. It’s a small start, but I believe there is much potential due to the healthcare needs of the people I see.
New Hope Initiative has the vision of operating a full service community clinic in our project in Kibera in the future. And, we have made the first step toward that vision. I am happy to announce that we have completed the first stage of that clinic. The building is complete, stocked and open to receive students and women two days a week. We have a local, Kenyan nurse caring for their immediate needs and doing assessments for long-term care. In addition, we are gathering data about the healthcare needs of the individuals in our projects, so we can work to do trainings on individual health care measures and prevent disease.
Please pray for a couple of issues regarding our clinic:
- The installation of sinks and running water – as you can imagine, this is tricky in a slum, but also mandatory for registration with the government.
- For the registration process; that we would have favor with the local health official and be easily approved.
- For Nurse Olive as she assesses and cares for the individuals in our projects.
- For the future of the clinic and that we would one day be a fully functioning clinic that can meet the healthcare needs of the community.