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Kenya Day 5- Not enough time in the day

June 27, 2012

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We have been on the go ever since we got here and everyone is just a little more tired than usual.  Over the last few days we have visited a local hospital-based dental clinic, given a tour of KEMU, went out through the community to collect data for our surveys, and spent our Saturday on a little adventure trip around Mt. Kenya.

Day 5: Chogoria Dental Clinic &  Hospital

Dr. Yvonne Kapila arranged for us to meet Dr. Odondi, the only practicing dentist at Chogoria Hospital.  The town of Chogoria is located about 40 km to the south of Meru and serves as an entry point for Mount Kenya for for adventurous backpackers with landscapes of tea and coffee agricultural fields.

Chogoria Hospital provides a number of healthcare services for the local and surrounding population.  Subspecialty clinics include diabetes and HIV/AIDS, prenatal care, surgery, physiotherapy, and of course dentistry.  The clinic currently has three dental chairs with a new dental wing currently under constructions.  Dr. Odondi says that families pay a certain amount based on income to the government for healthcare services.  Costs are fixed for the patient and they will not be expected to pay additional money for extended hospital stays, expensive medications, or other financially costly services.  It seems as though there is no maximum, no premium, and no out-of-pocket costs once the initial fee is paid.  If the hospital reaches capacity, it transports its patients to the nearest hospital (also at zero cost to the patient).

Dr. Odondi received his dental education at the University of Nairobi at the same time as Dr. Sunil Kapila.   Although a solo practitioner, he does work with several dental technicians who function as mid-level providers.  Unfortunately we were unable to shadow a clinical experience, but did notice that there were two patients present in the clinic.  The first was waiting for multiple extractions, and the second was waiting for full denture delivery.

After our tour of the clinic and the rest of the hospital, we made our way back to Meru by way of windy, mountainous roads and beautiful views of the tea fields.  That evening we had a teacher appreciation event for the teachers of the local primary and secondary schools (Gichunge Primary School, Kithoka Primary School, and Bishop Lawi Imathiu Secondary School).  This was the first time that the teachers from all three schools were able to get together where their hard efforts and accomplishments could be rewarded.   All schools have made tremendous progress and children that may not have been had a chance to enroll in a university are now showing increased improvement and are becoming increasingly competitive.  The influence of University of Michigan over the years has also been significant and new educational success stories are becoming more and more common.

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