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Nairobi

Project start | 1997

   

Free missions | 845

Nairobi

Survey of the Nairobi Project

Dates and Facts

Project begin: 1997

Number of doctors at present: 6

Missions: 42 voluntary missions in 2017. German doctors performed a total of 845 voluntary missions from 1997 to the end of 2017.

Patient contacts: More than 65,000 treatments are performed annually in Nairobi.

Partner: The German Doctors have been registered as a responsible body with its own legal entity since 2012. The HIV program works in close cooperation with the Christian Health Association of Kenya. We cooperate with the Dentists for Africa to provide dental care.

Structure: Six doctors work in a permanent outpatient clinic, the Baraka Health Centre, in the Mathare Valley slum.

Mission site: Mathare Valley, the second-largest slum in Nairobi, whose inhabitants are estimated at 430,000.

Most common health problems: HIV/AIDS and its opportunistic infections, tuberculosis, malaria, gastrointestinal diseases, pneumonias, diabetes, asthma, and undernourishment.

Priorities: Aside from general medical treatment, we concentrate on work with patients infected with HIV and people with AIDS. Since undernourishment contributes decisively to child mortality, our nourishment program is an important component of the Nairobi project.

Survey of the Nairobi Project

Baraka – the outpatient clinic in Mathare Valley

Many of the doctors working here choose to walk from their accommodation at the edge of Mathare Valley to the Baraka Clinic in the middle of the huge slum. This 15-minute walk would normally be much too dangerous for strangers, but they are protected by their shirts bearing the logo “German Doctors” because the people know that the German doctors have been working there for them for more than 15 years. Many children come to greet the approaching doctors as soon as they see them.

Baraka means blessing in Kisuaheli, and it is the name of the outpatient clinic run by German Doctors. Every weekday the doctors see 250 to 300 people who live in the Mathare Valley Slum and have no access to any other medical care. One of the biggest problems there is the high rate of HIV infections. 14,445 patients were tested for HIV in 2012, and 1,535 turned out to be positive (10% of the men and 11% of the women). Especially the many orphans who have lost both their parents to AIDS require help. The German Doctors provides support for them with its feeding program.

Survey of the Nairobi Project

Combatting malnutrition and nutritional deficiency

Many children in Mathare Valley, the second-largest slum in Kenya, suffer from malnutrition or nutritional deficiency. Seasonal and repeated food crises and the related enormous rise in the prices for basic foodstuffs have further exacerbated the scale of malnutrition. Therefore, the German Doctors offers various feeding programs at its Feeding Centre not far from the Baraka Outpatient Clinic. Undernourished children are fed with a special formula under medical supervision and weekly monitoring. Food is also supplied to other groups, such as HIV-positive pregnant women and adults with tuberculosis.

Aside from the provision of food, family aid plays an important role. Mothers are educated in matters like breast-feeding, providing nourishing meals with inexpensive local products, and hygiene.

The German Doctors finances a daily warm meal in 2 slum schools to motivate as many children as possible to attend school.

Survey of the Nairobi Project

Medical supervision and self-help groups

As overall in Africa, HIV is one of the most urgent problems with which the German Doctors has been confronted from the very beginning. They especially offered women with AIDS self-help groups early because these women suffer immensely under the results of the disease. They are often rejected by their husbands and therefore have no social net.

In 2001 the German Doctors initiated their own HIV program, first to advise people and to inform them of their HIV status through testing. Only those who know that they are HIV+ and receive appropriate support will behave responsibly and avoid spreading the disease.

The German Doctors have had AIDS medication available since 2005, albeit initially only for a small group of patients. Support from the USA has enabled us to provide treatment for 2,400 patients in the HIV program. More than 2,000 of these people receive antiretroviral therapy (ART). This enables them to achieve a considerably longer survival time and improved quality of life. Infected mothers and fathers can, despite their severe illnesses, continue to take care of their families.

Pregnant women infected with HIV and their children are especially intensively supported and advised to prevent contagion of the babies.

Many HIV+ people still die of tuberculosis, which is easy to treat if it is diagnosed early enough. Therefore, tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment are important components of our HIV project.

Survey of the Nairobi Project

Care for patients at home

Our fourth main pillar, alongside the general medical outpatient clinic, the feeding program, and the HIV program, is the community-based program with its diverse services. Three nurses and 40 so-called community health workers (volunteers who receive only a small remuneration) visit patients at home under the supervision of a social worker. Among their tasks are:

  • Home visits to patients in the HIV, tuberculosis, and the feeding program, as well as advising their family members,
  • Supervision of the regular intake of HIV medication
  • Searching for patients who failed to attend their treatment appointments (so-called defaulter tracing),
  • Home care of the most severely ill, bedridden patients (palliative care),
  • Screening children for undernourishment, and
  • Education campaigns and further education about health topics, for instance in schools or youth groups.

Survey of the Nairobi Project

Life in the slums

Mathare Valley Slum is Nairobi’s second biggest slum in Nairobi with a population of about 430,000 people. The inhabitants of Mathare-Valley slum are among those with the lowest income in urban Kenya. Most of the slum dwellings have no water supply, no drainage, and no electricity. There is virtually no infrastructure. Clean water does exist, but has to be bought for 3-4 times the official price from private “water kiosks” some distance away. Latrines are few and far between.

The “huts” belong to “landlords” who do not live in Mathare Valley and are only interested in making as much money as possible out of the slums. Whoever lives in Mathare Valley is surrounded by death, HIV/AIDS, and violence every day. Baraka, the outpatient clinic run by the German Doctors in the middle of the slum, is one of the few places where the people get any support.

Nairobi

Every donation helps!

180 Euros covers the cost of medication for 60 patients. 25 Euros enables 3 patients to be treated by one of our doctors. 240 Euros provides a doctor’s consultation for 30 patients in our outpatient clinic in the Nairobi slum. 420 Euros can feed 100 children adequately in Nairobi for a week. 60 Euros provides medical materials for 20 separate treatments. 500 Euros are required every month to treat 32 patients for HIV. 15 Euros provides a month’s treatment for a HIV+ patients, who  then has a considerably longer life expectancy. 120 Euros are needed to provide a balanced meal for 200 children in our feeding program.

180 Euros covers the cost of medication for 60 patients.

25 Euros enables 3 patients to be treated by one of our doctors.

240 Euros provides a doctor’s consultation for 30 patients in our outpatient clinic in the Nairobi slum.

420 Euros can feed 100 children adequately in Nairobi for a week.

60 Euros provides medical materials for 20 separate treatments.

500 Euros are required every month to treat 32 patients for HIV.

15 Euros provides a month’s treatment for a HIV+ patients, who then has a considerably longer life expectancy.

120 Euros are needed to provide a balanced meal for 200 children in our feeding program.

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