We are in Nairobi traffic ("the jam") on our way back to the Johanna Justin-Jenich clinic in Kibera for our second day of training. The first day was wonderful. Kibera is a large (1.5 million people live there) slum filling a depression by the railroad tracks out of Nairobi. The government of Nairobi apparently does not want it to exist and does not provide services to the area. As a result of the conditions of the slum the life expectancy there is 30, compared to 50 for the rest of Kenya. We were bracing ourselves for a hard first day there, expecting to have to troubleshoot a multitude of difficulties over the day, but it ran very smoothly. The clinic has been set up by an organization (the Shining Hope for Communities) founded by a man named Kennedy from Kibera who is now studying at Wesleyan University (in Connecticut). It's a really good story and you can read about it more on their website. At this point they have a two-story bright blue school decorated w children's hand prints, a clinic with three exam rooms, electricity provided by a generator, the largest clean water supply in Kibera, a clean latrine, and an enthusiastic and dedicated staff. We had 6 clinical trainees, consisting of nurses, clinical officers (equivalent to mid-level practitioners in the US like physician assistants) and one doctor. I was lucky to be in a room with the two clinical officers, Purity and Diana, who already had some experience w cervical cancer screening and were clearly competent in their clinical judgement, quick to learn more and caring towards the patients.
We have now pulled through the jam and are at the gates of Kibera. More later.
by Merritt Evans