Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Health Care Challenges, Successes in 2008

Posted in Humanitarian Services by KANERE on December 22, 2008
Refugees and locals await service at Clinic Four.

Refugees and locals await service at Clinic Four.

Volume 1, Issue 1 / December 2008

Health care services are a vital component of UNHCR’s mission to ensure that all refugees have access to a minimum standard of protection and essential material assistance. In Kakuma Refugee Camp, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is the implementing agency responsible for health care provision. The organization has tried its level best to curb all health related issues.

There are four clinics located throughout Kakuma camp, with a main hospital located in Kakuma One. The clinics cater for both refugees and locals. During 2008, there were four doctors on the ground at the MainHospital, while eight nurses staffed the clinics (usually about two nurses per clinic). All clinical staff members are equipped with radios to facilitate communication between clinics and hospitals. In cas

e of an emergency, there is an ambulance on stand-by ready to rush patients to the Main Hospital. When the hospital is unable to attend to some severe cases, they refer the patient to another medical centre with better capacities—generally to Kakuma Mission Hospital or Lodwar District Hospital.

Approximately three quarters of medical staff are refugee incentive staff, with the remainder coming from Kenyan communities. A good number of medical staff members have undergone an initial course on medical training, and IRC holds periodic trainings for health workers to polish up their workmanship. No one is charged for these services. “Our curriculum is facilitated by trained doctors and nurses, and the course is an intensive combination of coursework and on-the-job training. Our medical staff members update their skills through internal trainings dealing with cross-cutting issues such as nutrition, health awareness, and HIV/Aids,” explains one IRC staff member.

To ensure that medical care is constantly up-to-date, the IRC revises their curriculum annually based on Kenyan Ministry of Health Guidelines. They also offer a library with access to major medical journals and the latest medical books. “In much of our work with refugees, we focus on knowledge transfer,” explains the IRC staff member.

By recruiting medical workers from the refugee camp, IRC is able to tap into the existing capacity of refugees to contribute to health care services. “Some refugees already have a background in medical training—for example, many refugees from the Great Lakes Region have university degrees in medicine, law, and civil services,” points out the IRC staff member. “And you can’t underestimate the power of the youth in this camp. They have been educated in the LWF schools and are very knowledgeable.” Many refugees trained as IRC medical assistants go on to successful health-sector careers following repatriation or resettlement to another country, where the knowledge they have gained gives them a competitive edge.

The world-threatening epidemic of HIV/Aids has been well catered for in camp hospitals. Anti-retroviral drugs are available free of charge to affected patients. Health education is also provided free of charge to both refugees and locals, focusing on issues such as personal prevention of HIV/Aids and mother-to-child transmission for expectant mothers. Condoms are also distributed around the camp free of charge. In addition, free HIV testing is provided for at the Voluntary Counseling and Treatment (VCT) Centers. These are some of the measures that have been taken to address the issue of HIV/Aids in Kakuma.

In 2008, the volume of demand for health care services sometimes outstripped the capacity of clinics to respond. Health workers report to work at 7:30am and leave at 12:30am in the morning session. Patients begin streaming to the clinics as early as 5:30am, and they arrive in large numbers. The afternoon service session begins at 2:00pm and continues to 4:30pm. The clinics do not always have enough wards to admit all patients. At times, the clinics experience a shortage of medication. The rainy season poses a perennial challenge to health care services, as outbreaks of malaria and diarrhea affect many refugees due to poor sanitation and drainage systems. In case of an outbreak of any disease, the clinics are first to respond by going round to the communities of refugees and local Turkana to administer treatment.

Considering the constraints under which they operate, the performance of the clinics and main hospital is very good. “Our monitoring system comes directly from UNHCR standards, and we always record an excellent performance on the ground,” points out the IRC staff member. He attributes this success in large part to a strong medical staff: “We rely on refugee staff in terms of our capacity building and program implementation. We really have good people on the ground.”

4 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Ahmed ali aden said, on September 10, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Hi every body” ma name is ahmed ali aden. I am here by the above mentioned nce requesting your esteemed office for support, I am a somali national who fled the war in somali:currently I am a refugee at kakuma cump. I left there some days ago after I accidently met a man who killed ma father when we w’re in somali. I run to nairobi after he threated to kill me because he fears that I may accuse him to police and un office for the murder of ma father.now I live in dark and stress situation because I don’t have aplace to sleep and something to eat. I sleep in small mosque and go to local restaurents to beg for food and drinks which is left by people. Above all, I would like to request your office for any kind of support and refugee support. Your support is highly appreciated By ahmed ali aden contact me this phone n:0710453412 or email:ahmadio12@hotmail.com

  2. khadijahassan22 said, on November 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Aden your store mad me cry. it’s sad to hear that.i was in your situation once.don’t worry everything will be okay..

  3. Gatwech nyang biel said, on April 30, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Dear sir/madam i would like to ask you about my certificate of Adult Education which i completed in 2009 at center1. I recall that was when i came from South Sudan and immediately sat for the graduation exam?

  4. KANERE said, on April 30, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Gatwech, the office of the Adult Education and Literacy program has been closed down few years ago! However, you can still follow it up with IRC Office in compound 1 to obtain your certificate. We hope they do keep such important data and file archives for refugee documents..!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: