In Kenya, doctors’ strike leaves a nation ailing

Al Jazeera

Kenya’s public sector doctors began striking two months ago to protest against the Ministry of Health’s failure to implement a 2013 agreement which included raising salaries /Jacob Kushner

Kijabe, Kenya – At the bottom of a winding, tree-lined road, a crowd of patients spills out of the entrance of a private hospital waiting room on to a patio and a dirt parking lot. It begins to rain, and a man on crutches tries to hobble into the cramped building for cover.

Sitting in a wheelchair outside the door is Dorcas Kiteng’e, a 25-year-old woman suffering from cancerous growths in her ovaries.

“They’re pressing down on the spine, they’re paralysing her,” says Mwende Mutambuki, Kiteng’e’s sister-in-law“She can’t walk. Back pain, leg pain – I’m hoping it hasn’t spread.”

Kijabe is the third hospital they’ve visited since they arrived in the Kenyan capital Nairobi last week, looking for an oncologist who could perform the surgery, only to be turned away.

“They sent us to Agha Khan,” says Mutambuki, referring to the private Nairobi hospital that’s regarded as one of the nation’s finest. “But we know we were not going to be able to afford that.”

She fears time is running out to save her sister-in-law: “It’s a matter of life or death.”

Two months ago Kenya’s public sector doctors walked out on strike, and millions of Kenyans who normally depend on them are beginning to overwhelm the nation’s private hospitals, particularly in rural areas.

Read the full article at Al Jazeera.

In Tanzania, Coke improves medical distributions

GlobalPost/GroundTruth

Jacob Kushner/GlobalPost

A successful Coca-Cola partnership in Tanzania to better distribute medicine across the country shows that not all public-private partnerships have to be self-serving.
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DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage retailer, has an unparalleled ability to get its goods to anyone and everyone. In Tanzania, Coca-Cola reaches areas where even essential medicines and life-saving medical supplies do not. An incredible 35 to 40 percent of all orders for medicine from Tanzania’s 5,000 health centers go unfilled due to “stock-outs.” The drugs simply don’t arrive.

If Coca-Cola can reach all corners of Tanzania, why not medicine? At last it is beginning to, thanks to Project Last Mile, a partnership that is helping to fix a number of kinks in the medical distribution process.

Read the full feature at GlobalPost.

New hospital encourages doctors to stay as Haiti continues to rebuild

GlobalPost/GroundTruth

Pediatricians in residence Dr. Roosler Billy Telcide, 27 (right), and Dr. Ben Bechir Beaubrun, sit in the children’s waiting room at the Partners in Health University Hospital in Mirebalais. Telcide said he’s excited to learn first rate patient care at the new facility– and to carry those standards with him as he practices medicine to his hometown once he completes his residency.

MIREBALAIS, Haiti — When Roosler Billy Telcide completed medical school in Port-au-Prince, his hopes for finding a residency to prepare him for a career as a pediatrician were modest.
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“I had a dream when I was a medical student to do my residency where I can find a scanner, an MRI, and all those things Partners in Health has,” said Telcide, 27, in reference to Boston non-profit whose state-of-the-art teaching hospital opened last year in the town of Mirebalais, north of Port-au-Prince.

Funded by private donors and grants, and using equipment donated from the Boston area, the $25-million, 300-bed University Hospital of Mirebalais (HUM) already handles some 800 outpatient visits a day, offers chemotherapy to cancer patients, delivers 200 to 300 babies per month and operates a 24-hour emergency ward. Its mission: provide free, first-rate health care to Haitians who could otherwise not afford it.
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Read the full story as it appeared at GlobalPost.