SENGENOI: ONE CHILD ONE STORY
Sengenoi is an orphan girl who leaves in the Segera Mission Clinic.
The river separates the Mission from the Endana Community where she was previously living with a guardian. During the rainy season, the river usually floods and because there is no bridge, people from Endana cannot cross over to the Mission for any medical help. Sengenoi came to our attention when she was brought to our clinic with a very septic wound in her foot. The wound had been there for almost six months. She had been pricked by a thorn probably from an acacia tree since no one was sure.
When she was brought to the health clinic, the infection had already spread and infected the bone so we referred her to the hospital. She underwent two different operations and until the third operation after seeing that the wound was not improving, the doctors realized that the thorn was still in her foot. After the removal, the leg has greatly improved though she had developed a deformity which is still to be rectified.
It has taken a whole one year for the wound to heal and I strongly believe if her guardian had better means to have her reach the clinic immediately when she had the prick, she would not have developed that deformity.
SEGERA: A LIFE SAVING FACILITY
For the last five years the Segera clinic has existed, several lives have been saved. The most affected are women while giving birth as the nearest hospital is in Nanyuki which is almost 40kms from the nearest neighboring community.
An example is of women from Endana who have birth complications where we are able to save them from death due to postpartum hemorrhage. Recently, one of the women needed the clinics help when there was a heavy downpour and the river was flooded. Thank God our only working truck had no business in town that day and was able to drive around the river to the clinic in time.
During the rainy season when the river has risen, the only route are roads which are also impassable. Only God knows how many lives have been lost due to this kind of situation.
Last month [June 2009] when the team from Engineers without Boarders had visited the Mission, we had one boy from Endana Secondary School who fractured his femur during a football match. The other boys carried him to the clinic where we were able to give him first Aid, relief the pain and observe him over the night; we didn’t have safe way to transfer him to the hospital during the night. The next morning, he was taken to the hospital. Just imagine the pain and agony he could have gone through till morning if they didn’t make it to the clinic.
The bridge will help solve many of these problems.
There such a huge difference [in clinic attendance] when it rains and the river floods. In a ordinary week, we attend to about 200 patients from Endana but the numbers can go down to 50 patients during a rainy season. It will be an answered prayer to many to see the bridge came true to this community. Excerpts from an interview with Lucy Muriuki, Community Health Nurse, Segera Mission, 2009
During our survey trip in 2009, we collected Health Assessment Data which revealed that 6 participant families out of the 21 surveyed had members who had contracted malaria. In addition, 11 families had members that had contracted water-born diseases. Oral interviews have revealed that most of these occurrences are pertaining to children (the 21 families interviewed each had an average of 2.8 children under the age of 15 years).
While children are the primary beneficiaries of this project, this bridge will be valuable to every member of the 4,200 person community. Increased accessibility to medical treatment and clean water will facilitate healthy lifestyles within the Endana community.
THE CHILDREN: MANY STORIES
The community of Endana is located on the eastern side of the Ewaso Ng’iro River, approximately 30 kilometers/18 miles northwest of Nanyuki, Kenya and occupies 2 kilometers/1 mile of the eastern bank. The community is comprised of 4,200 people and approximately 42% of them are children under the age of 15 (per CIA Data for Kenya).
Though visible from most huts on the Clinic and Schools in the area are isolated and unreachable during the rainy season and when the Ewaso Ng’iro River is flooded.
HEALTHCARE FOR CHILDREN
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the mortality rate for children in Kenya under the age of five is 120 per 1,000 live births.
The closest health care for village of Endana and the surrounding communities is the Segera Mission Medical Clinic. Located on the western banks of the river, it serves as the only healthcare facility within a 30 kilometer/18 mile radius of its geographic location. In addition, it also serves a source of clean drinking water. The Ewaso Ng’iro River separating the children from the clinic becomes impassible during the long rainy season. Therefore, many minor ailments escalate in severity due to a lack of medical attention.
EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN
Whether you are a young child from Endana traveling to the primary school at the Mission Clinic or an older child going to the only Secondary School in the area, the only way to reach your future is to cross the Ewaso Ng’iro River. From March to May and again from October to December, the water levels rise from 500mm/18 inches to 3m/9 feet making it impossible for a child to wade across the river. Since there are no bridges nearby, the only means to reach education is make a 30 kilometer/18 mile round trip journey. Given this extremely long distance, children simply do not attend school. The education opportunities are hindered both ways as in addition to the only Secondary school in the area on the east side of the river, the Segera Mission also provides free schooling for children up to 2nd grade on the west side of the river.
THE SOLUTION: A NEW PARTNERSHIP
Leaders of the Endana Community fully comprehended the severity of this precarious situation.
During our assessment trip, we team developed a relationship with the Endana community, performed a site investigation and completed a community heath assessment. The site investigation included a geotechnical evaluation, a hydrology analysis for high and low water elevations and a topographical survey of the proposed location. Using all of this data, the EWB-OC technical team of certified Professional Engineers has created the most appropriate design for the footbridge.
IMPACTS OF THE BRIDGE
The potential impacts of the proposed footbridge on the children of the Endana community are immediate and long lasting. First and foremost, children will be able to receive timely medical attention and treatments at the Segera Mission in the rainy season, during which the children are most susceptible to common air and water borne diseases.
It is clear that the children of Endana do not have the access to healthcare that they need during the rainy season. The significantly reduced volume of patients that the Segera Mission clinic treats during the rainy season substantiates this claim. According to records at the mission, the facility treats an average of 1000 people per month in the dry season, but only 200 people per month in the rainy season. The numbers clearly demonstrate the need for improved access to healthcare for the Endana Community.
In addition to sustaining the physical health of children in the Endana community, this footbridge will also serve as an enabler for education. Without a solid foundation in education, the children of Endana will have fewer opportunities to pursue their life passions and ambitions.
Providing them access to basic education will improve literacy rates and mathematical proficiency within the Endana community. Essentially, this education will serve as one of the core building blocks for the future leaders of Endana.
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