Since April 2016, The Addis Clinic has partnered with I-Hope Foundation in Migori County, Kenya. Migori is nestled in between hills in south-western Kenya, a 7-hour trip from the capital Nairobi. Almost half of its population of around 50,000 people live below the poverty line and earn less than $1 per day. In this complex environment, the I-HOPE Foundation, a Kenyan NGO, is working to “improve rural health through creative and innovative approaches” targeting the most at-risk population of Migori.
Their willingness to embrace innovation has made them an ideal partner for The Addis Clinic. The opportunity to implement telemedicine to better serve patients at the rural Sori Lakeside Hospital, bringing access to specialty physician care, has been welcomed by I-Hope. Allowing the local Kenyan physicians to collaborate with multiple specialists on complex cases through technology has had an immediate impact on the local community. Through our partnership, The Addis Clinic has provided specialty consultations in Cardiology, Pulmonology, Infectious Disease, Pediatrics, Dermatology, and many others. This partnership displays the importance of physician to physician consultations for doctors serving entire communities without the help of a team of local specialists.
Additional creative approaches that I-Hope participates in is their in-school Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Program, preventing students from exposure to diseases such as Cholera, Typhus, and Malaria. I-Hope not only teaches about the importance of handwashing, but they have installed over 30 water tanks and regularly supply soap for around 2,000 students and their teachers.
Poverty and access to simple personal hygiene items, like sanitary pads, make it difficult for girls to attend school. I-Hope supports these students by distributing personal hygiene items and teaching proper disposal. David Maganya, the Director, doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations. He and his team talk to students about their sexual and reproductive health, HIV, and other topics that directly impact the daily life in Migori. Many children are AIDS orphans or have parents who are not able to sufficiently care for them, leaving these children at high-risk. They cover the costs of education for local children through their I-HOPE Fellows Scholarship, ensuring their youth receive a proper education, leading to university education and laying grounds for a better life.
Gold mining is a common occupation in the Migori Region, a dangerous profession when not trained properly in safety precautions. It is not uncommon for miners to handle mercury with their bare hands in this process. Because they have not been taught of the health risks, I-HOPE stepped in and is working to teach local miners the importance of safety gear (gloves, goggles, respirators, etc.).
The Addis Clinic is proud to partner in the critical work being done in Migori Country by I-Hope and looks forward to growing our impact in this region.
David Maganya, I-Hope Director, talks about the challenges of medical access in Kenya.