Mobile Clinics: Pursuing Accessible Care for All

Mobile Clinic days begin early and run long for our team of seven. Leaving Kijabe as early as 5am, the team drives to the scheduled site for that day, sets up, and stays until the last patient has been seen. There is no lunch break — some of the families have traveled for hours on foot, bus, or motorcycle (sometimes all three!) to come to this clinic, and the team wants to give everyone the time they need. After the last patient has left, there is still the long drive home.

The Kitale Mobile Clinic filling up for the day.

Thirty-three years ago Dr. Richard Bransford established the first Mobile Clinic site at the Kajiado Children’s Home. Kajiado is about 140 km (87 miles) from Kijabe, and the distance made it impossible for many of his patients from this part of Kenya to receive the regular follow-up their conditions required. So instead of telling his patients to come to the Kijabe clinic for their follow-up care, Dr. Bransford brought the clinic to them.

Dr. Bransford reviewing a patient in the early years of BethanyKids.

Dr. Bransford’s vision of accessible care has become a cornerstone for BethanyKids, and today we have a dedicated team of seven professionals who maintain 16 Mobile Clinic sites across Kenya. Our Mobile Clinic team consists of three nurses, two occupational therapists, a social worker, and a parent-to-parent mentor, and they visit each site multiple times a year. Some sites are far enough away that they require overnight trips, but most can be done in one day.

Our mobile clinic team. Back row, from left: Jane Mutinda (team lead and nurse), Daniel Wafula (nurse), Esther Njiru (nurse), Geoffrey Musyoka (social worker), Luke McAuley (occupational therapist). Front row: Julia Rutto (parent to parent mentor), James Mutuma (occupational therapist).

In addition to providing regular follow-up care and therapy, our nurses and therapists are trained to assess children for possible surgical needs, and our social worker and parent-to-parent mentor spend time encouraging and supporting the children and their families. The team also spends a considerable amount of time training caregivers on ways they can better support and help their children. In this way, families are empowered to improve the quality of life for their children at home every day.

Jane Mutinda, our Mobile Clinics team leader and also a nurse, showing a parent how to administer medication for her daughter.

As they express in their mission statement, the Mobile Clinic team is dedicated to providing “compassionate Christian intervention in physical, spiritual, and emotional care” through a multi-faceted approach: treatment, prevention, education, mentorship, counseling, empowerment, and capacity building. With over 3,000 patients seen in our Mobile Clinics last year, this team is truly making quality, accessible care a reality.

If you are still curious about our Mobile Clinics and want to know what a typical day looks like for our team, head over to the McAuley’s blog and take a walk through their photo essay. Luke McAuley is one of the occupational therapists on our Mobile Clinic team.

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