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GTN Pilot Projects in Kenya

The 75-bed Matibabu Foundation Hospital is in the rural town of Ukwala, where it offers medical services to over 200,000 people in far-western Kenya. In addition to the accredited Level IV hospital, the Matibabu Foundation operates a nursing school and a satellite clinic. The hospital is modern and well-equipped, and its doctors are trained and experienced in primary care. There are no specialists on the hospital staff, but the Tiba Foundation organizes several medical missions each year, bringing volunteer specialists to provide short-term help at the hospital.

Through this pilot project, the Global Telehealth Network will enable those same volunteer physicians to help year-round through telehealth consults, while continuing to provide “hands-on” care during their periodic visits to Kenya.
Of course, GTN’s other physician volunteers in a broad range of specialties will also be available to help when needed.

When construction of a new surgery suite is complete, doctors at Matibabu Hospital who need assistance with difficult procedures will be able to benefit from surgical proctoring by international volunteers who can virtually “look over their shoulders” using GTN’s system. In the future, it may even be possible for surgeons at distant locations to directly perform highly technical procedures through tele-robotics.

In addition to obtaining consultations through GTN, Matibabu Hospital is also serving as a hub for the in-country telehealth network that GTN and ISV are helping to develop. The physicians at Matibabu Hospital will provide online backup for nurses who operate remote clinics. During the pilot project, they will begin work with clinics in three locations:

  • Sekenani, Kenya – Located in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Sekenani Health Centre has equipment for a telehealth connection, but they needed an improved solar power system to utilize that connection. With their upgraded infrastructure, the health workers at the clinic will now be able access consults with physicians at Matibabu Hospital or at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi when they encounter patients with complex problems. If needed assistance is not available in-country, it will be provided by one of GTN’s international volunteers.

  • Talek, Kenya – Adjacent to the Maasai Mara, the Talek Community Health Centre is supported by the
    Maa Trust, and they wanted to establish a telehealth link with Matibabu Hospital and Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi. Their needs included solar power backup, Internet connectivity and additional telehealth equipment. With that infrastructure in place, they now can access telehealth support from multiple sources, coordinated by GTN.

  • Nambale, Kenya – Nambale Magnet School is in far-western Kenya, and many of its 460 students are AIDS orphans or are being treated for HIV. One nurse provides all the care for the students and 66 staff members with no available physician back-up. Now the school will have solar power, Internet connectivity and access to support for the school nurse through telehealth consultations.

With assistance from GTN and IEEE Smart Village, Matibabu Hospital also plans to develop a mobile clinic to extend their outreach to very remote areas by visiting various market towns on days when residents of many surrounding villages converge to buy or sell crops and goods.

We are grateful to the following Rotary Clubs and Districts that contributed funding or other assistance that made these projects in Kenya possible:

  • Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley Smart Village (members on six continents)

  • Rotary Club of Los Altos, California, USA 

  • Rotary Club of Cupertino, California, USA

  • Rotary Club of Branson-Hollister, Missouri, USA   

  • Rotary Club of Hollister, Missouri, USA

  • Rotary Club of Belleville, Ontario, Canada   

  • Rotary Club of Milimani, Nairobi, Kenya

  • Rotary Club of Busia, Kenya

  • Rotary District 5170, California, USA

  • Rotary District 6080, Missouri, USA 

  • Rotary District 7070, Ontario, Canada

  • Rotary District 9212, Kenya

Volunteer doctors provide an invaluable service for organizations like these. Help them save lives.

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