UK, Kenya army give health to the poor

May 29, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – The British Army medical regiment in conjunction with Kenyan armed forces have set up mobile medical and dental clinics in remote villages across the country in a six–week exercise.

Codenamed ‘Sharp Point’, the mobile clinics will see the medics visit over 35 locations in six districts to offer free treatment and medication.

“Within the first two days the mobile clinics had treated 1,514 people at areas identified by the Ministry of Health in Kenya as most in need of urgent medical support,” said Captain Tim Rawlinson, Operations Officer for the British Army regiment, 1 Medical Regiment, who planned the exercise.

“We wanted to visit villages where we can offer the greatest benefit, and we expect the numbers of patients to increase as time goes by and the districts have more notice that we are coming. However we don’t have any target numbers for patients as we are more concerned with the quality of care we are giving than the quantity of patients. Working with the Ministry of Health, we have carefully selected areas where communities normally have little access to regular medical care.”

In the clinics, the patients have responded positively.

“We have never seen a British person come and treat us, and we are confident in the Army health care,” said one villager from Meto, near Namanga in Kajiado District.

“We are very pleased with the health care we are receiving from them.”

The medics themselves are also benefiting from the experience.

“This exercise is rewarding on both a professional and personal level,” said Captain Sush Ramakrishna, a doctor with 1 Medical Regiment.

“It makes all those long hours in medical school worthwhile to be here in Kenya and treating people who really need it. It’s a new meaning to job satisfaction.”

Dentist Captain Jim Scott agreed: “In cases we are providing the first dental care some of our patients will see. A lot of the patients treated have never been to a dentist before and have been in pain for a long time, and it’s a pleasure to help them. The exercise fits well with the Army’s ethos, and I was delighted when I was selected to come here to Kenya.”

The clinics will be moving to remote areas in Baringo, North Baringo and East Pokot for ten days before moving on to Samburu.

They will be offering free medical and dental treatment and advice on dental hygiene, as well as conducting a vaccination programme.

They will also be distributing 6,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and over 3,000 condoms and water purifiers, which have been provided by the British Government’s Department for International Development.

The British Army is also employing a number of translators at each location for effective communication with the patients.


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