Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a major public health problem, especially in low to middle income countries. The complications of untreated STIs in women, and their potential adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes and fertility can be devastating to women, their partners, and their families.
Just recently Sarah*, a young newly-married woman in her twenties, traveled to visit a local family medical clinic in rural Kenya. After a month of lower abdominal pain and a number of other concerning symptoms, she knew it was time to be seen by a health care provider. The available frontline health worker took a thorough medical history, performed a physical exam, and sent her for an ultrasound and some lab testing to gather more information and get to the bottom of her complaints. All of this testing revealed a likely long-term untreated sexually transmitted infection and resulting pelvic inflammatory disease. As Sarah had yet to have children, the FHW knew that prompt treatment was necessary to preserve her future fertility and address the health of her husband. However, this level of gynecological care was outside of his area of expertise, and the nearest OB/GYN physician was over 2 hours away. So the FHW referred the case to The Addis Clinic.
We quickly contacted Dr. Mark Shaffer, a family medicine physician practicing in South Carolina, and he immediately provided recommendations for a comprehensive treatment plan to include antibiotics, treatment of her partner, and further evaluation & follow-up. Sarah began the path to health and wellness with the available medicines and learned ways to mitigate the risks associated with STIs in the future.
At The Addis Clinic, our ability to use telemedicine to care for people living in medically-underserved areas enables us, our FHWs, and our volunteer physicians to create a more equitable world where every patient’s health matters.