In the depths of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, lies Solai location. Within Solai, there is a little-known village known as "Central", part of the farm owned by Nyandarua Progressive Association. It's a close-knit community of small-scale farmers who tirelessly work to fend for their families. The village is an essential source of food for the hungry populations of the nearby towns such as Nakuru. Its citizens are pleasant and easy going.
However, the community lacks a crucial service.
The village has for the last decade lived without a healthcare facility to cater for its growing population. Each day, residents travelled for several miles to receive essential health care services in the neighbouring village. But it wasn't always like this.
In the year 2002, missionaries from the African Inland Church saw the plight of the Central (Solai) villagers and sought to make a difference. They collaborated with well-wishers from the UK, and set up a health centre targeting the most vulnerable members of the community. It was a centre of hope that specialised in childcare and maternity care.
After about five years of operations, the village health centre encountered headwinds, and the well-wishers withdrew funding. Soon after, the centre closed down in the year 2008 leaving behind bewildered villagers. After a few years, a derelict structure stood where the once thriving health centre was. The community despaired and resumed the old routine of travelling several miles to health centres in the nearby villages. Little did they know that a revival of the health centre was sprouting in the mind of a distinguished health worker far away in Nairobi.
One of Solai's native, Dorcas Apollo, a registered and long-serving nurse was about to retire from employment and was planning a comeback. Popularly known as Sis Dorcas, she retired from employment in 2017 and returned home with a quest to open up a health centre. It was like a dream come true for the residents. After consultations with the local leadership and women's groups, she resolved to revive the old health centre.
Dorcas has a wealth of experience in her noble career. She trained as a nurse and midwife in the early 1980's and has worked in more than five major hospitals spread across the country. She's dipped her hand in almost everything nursing related including running a private health facility for nine years in the eastern part of the nation. Also, she has handled surgeries and supervised vaccination centres. But her passion is for expectant mothers and children.
Following her heart, Sis Dorcas dipped into her retirement savings and paid for the restoration of the dilapidated structure. She gave it a fresh look, restocked its pharmacy and on 18th September 2017, AIC Nyandarua Solai Health Centre re-opened its doors to the public!
She aimed to restore the health centre and provide healthcare to the most vulnerable in the community. However, her approach differed slightly from the earlier set-up. Instead of delivering mainly curative services, her focus turned to educating the community about health matters as well as promoting healthy living and preventive measures. Also, she aims to provide low cost diagnostic and curative health services.
An uphill task but not insurmountable.
Within a few months of reopening, the centre already has built a steady stream of patients, who mainly comprise children and expectant mothers. She offers basic diagnostic and curative services to the patients. Moreover, the centre provides vital paediatric vaccinations. And because the community is not opulent, she renders her services at a meagre cost, charging less than $1 for a consultation. She funds the development of the centre from her savings.
Sis Dorcas has also encountered other challenges in her quest to restore the Health Centre. Some of these include: lack of reliable water supply, lack of sanitary facilities, lack of electricity, insufficient medication and lack of laboratory equipment.
However, Sis Dorcas is not dampened by these challenges; she recently convinced a local lab technologist to work at the centre for a couple of hours every week. Also, she spotted a borehole nearby and has begun to engage the owners in supplying the centre with water. From her savings, she stocked the pharmacy with painkillers, anti-malaria drugs, antibiotics and de-worming drugs. The challenge of restoring electricity supply is unique. The centre has an outstanding bill of almost $ 600 which the power company demanded settlement before they could consider re-installation.
She looks forward to bringing the centre to a point where the public National Health Insurer, NHIF, accredits it. She would also like to offer free maternity service and form partnerships with like-minded organisations as well as the Kenyan Government.
To continue serving patients, your help is needed!
Please donate to Sister Dorcas and the AIC Nyandarua Solai Health Centre through the GoGetFunding page here. All donations received will be solely for the improvement and enhancement of the facility. Every little bit will go a long way!
$ 5 – to purchase 10 doses of antimalarial medication
$ 50 – to purchase 150 doses of deworming medication
$ 60 - to pay the monthly rent
$ 200 – to provide water supply from the nearby borehole
$ 300 – to provide sanitary facilities; inside and outside the building
$ 600 – to reconnect the outstanding electricity bill and to obtain a new meter