A high-pitched yelp of an African hyena wakes up Peter Obino at the crack of dawn. The CHAT mobile clinic driver quickly wakes up and it suddenly hits him that it is six in the morning and the mobile clinic Land Rover was not loaded last night, as is usually the norm.
He quickly summons up a young lady named Anne who is the clinic nurse and HTC counselor Samuel. The trio then start the frantic job of packing boxes filled with curative medicine, Family Planning commodities, BP machines, record books, safety boxes, condoms...
After a rushed breakfast the motor mobile clinic gets underway driving through the undulating plains of Laikipia, dipping and curving towards ISIOLO Samburu - some of the most marginalized and remotest areas in Kenya.
Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo counties are inhabited by poor, illiterate often nomadic communities without access to basic healthcare amenities and family planning services. Most of the inhabitants often confess that the 'yellow' Land Rover is the only hospital they have known all their 'poor, wretched' lives.
Barrelling for Kipsing village in Isiolo county where a mobilizer is waiting with a group of people, the driver endures a three-hour drive on a rough seasonal road often stopping to honk the horn after passing through manyattas, mobilizing people and informing them that the clinic will be camping in their village.
It is usual to meet young Maasai morans dressed in colorful shukas often stopping the mobile clinic for a pack of 'cookies', a rural slang for condoms which the clinic distributes under its HIV/AIDS programme.
A few kilometers to Kipsing, the car wobbles dangerously and it is a burst tyre yet again! It is now over 100 Fahrenheit and the Bridgestone tires can't seem to take the searing tropical heat. Far into the distance, a crowd is already milling around the chief's camp eagerly waiting for the clinic's belated arrival. Peter, an old hand quickly changes the tire and speeds towards the already lined up women, men and children who had been mobilized the day before by a local health worker who works alongside CHAT.
The unpacking and setting up the clinic takes one hour and then treatment gets underway. It is almost midday and the crowd is getting restless - they have come a long way, some of them as far as Lpussi and Lchakwai in the north, Samburu east district just for these services.
At this station alone 30 women choose long-term family planning while3 expectant mothers are taken through the ANC clinic. Two children with septic wounds are also cleaned and bandaged. Major diseases treated here include URTI, Malaria and a case of STI. All in all 17 people are treated and 20 are tested for HIV/AIDS.
At five in the evening the nurse and the driver assisted by the HTC load up the car and head to the chief's homestead to camp for the night.
It is the end of yet another grueling day for the CHAT mobile clinic who will be camping out for the next 7 nights before returning to base in Laikipia
~ The Team at CHAT
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