Background Karura Health Centre is a Government health facility that was started in 1968 as a small clinic meant to serve the members of the public at no cost. It is situated in Muthaiga, along Kiambu road just next to Muthaiga Golf Club. Some of the diverse health services that are offered in the facility include; nutritional counselling, curative immunization, growth monitoring of children, family planning, antenatal care, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of AIDS, voluntary counselling and testing, laboratory services, comprehensive care for HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis care and specialized treatment.
The facility is supervised by Agatha Kimathi, the main medical officer. Karura Health Centre has seventeen members of staff who are dedicated to deliver quality service. The positions of these staff members include medical officers, nurses, data officers, counselors, laboratory technologists, security officers. Karura Health Centre mainly serves middle class earners and low class earners coming from Mathare, Muthaiga, Mlango, Karura and its environs. The facility is managed by the City Council of Nairobi and sponsored by the University of Maryland. It receives drugs and equipment needed from the national government.Specializations and principles of the organization The main principles of care delivery governing the facility include: Equity in access and utilization; this means that all people regardless of their background have equal rights in accessing health services and use them equally for equal needs.
Relevance and acceptability; as a health centre it must take account of the demand for care and respond to the priority of the population. It also has to be rooted in social reality and include user satisfaction in service delivery. Continuity of care; taking care of people with health problems from the start to the end by following up of the patient so as to protect him/her and community at large. Integration of care; this is to ensure comprehensive set of defined services are made available through contact with individual.
The involvement of individual; this is when individuals take up responsibility for their own health, hence provide them with the sense of ownership with their health. Kimathi, A. (2018, June 13).
Personal CommunicationMajor activitiesSince the organization is a health care facility and with trained professionals in the field, the range of tasks assigned to me were limited and to be done within the three to four hours of the time specified during this course. The first week I was assigned the duty to register patients and manage the data manually, by filing them in their respective drawers according to year and age of patients. I would also take turn in serving patients in the triage section, by measuring their blood pressure, weight and height before sending them to see the doctor. In between the second and third week I was assigned tasks that were dependent on the doctor’s presence since I was working as an assistant as he/she attends to patients. I was helping out in the ante-natal clinic, where I was recording the times mothers gave birth, weighing babies, and noting down their measurements and registering new mothers and expectant mothers who were undergoing follow-ups. Other than paperwork, I also assisted in sorting out the vaccines and medicines in the pharmacy store, and also went ahead to clean the registry office that I mainly worked in and dusted the table and arranged the shelves.Memorable incidencesWorking in a health facility was a first time experience to me and I gained a lot of knowledge that I know would help me in future.
It was a really memorable experience while assisting at the ante-natal clinic getting to personally hear the soft heartbeats of a child still inside a mother’s womb. It is not every day that I get to feel a baby’s heart beat hence it was special and memorable. During the time that I have served as a receptionist booking in patients and dealing with record keeping, I remembered noticing that the cards that are usually given to patients free of charge are over and there wasn’t any in the supply. This forced the patients to go buy a book from the nearest kiosk and back. I found this very inconvenient as some of the patients may have serious injuries, are heavily pregnant or are elderly and too sick to tell to go buy the books for themselves and come back, hence on various occasions, I took it upon myself to rush to the nearest shop to get books one day when an injured man and heavily pregnant woman came to be assisted but didn’t have a card or book. They were grateful and it touched my heart that at least I was able to be of assistance.
Overall feelings I was looking for a place to do community service since early April and had to scout for places early enough since I knew the organizations would be full by the time school opens. I wanted to look for places either around school or around my home area in Westlands. I first checked if Westlands Health Centre had vacancy and the lady there was warm, friendly and welcoming, assured me of a position and not to worry about it. When summer semester began and we were to report for our first day at the organizations we chose to volunteer, the lady informed me that they took in more students than was needed and wouldn’t like to go against our school rules on the number of students to work in a specific organization. Westlands Health Centre at that time had twenty volunteers and adding more would be against the rules.
She offered to refer me and five other students to Karura Health Centre which was still serving under Westlands constituency. I was grateful and happy that she was considerate and saved me the trouble of looking for another place which is hard. I was excited to get a place and on reporting on my first day was welcomed and taken through orientation and introduced to the staff and this made me feel at home.
Agatha was friendly and made sure we all settled in before we began our duties. At some point I felt indifferent and saw community service as routine for every student and didn’t really see meaning in it. Every morning I report to work I’m greeted and made feel part of the staff and this made me settle in and work comfortably. Occasionally when I get stuck with my duties the other members of the facility were ready to help out and this brought a pleasant working environment. Agatha always treats us with respect and is very understanding.
Despite the good working environment, I feel the government is not doing enough on its part to ensure quality service delivery to the public. The services, medicine, and equipment in the facility are not enough or some are faulty. For the duration that I have served as a receptionist booking in patients and dealing with record keeping, I noticed the cards that are usually given to patients free of charge are over and there aren’t more supplies currently. This forces the patient to go buy a book from the nearest kiosk and this is very inconvenient as some of the patients may have injuries, are pregnant or are elderly and too sick to go and come back, on various occasions, I bought a few books to assist those incapable of getting a book. The Blood pressure meter went off as I was recording a patient’s blood pressure. A staff member told me that medicine isn’t enough and they have to prescribe for patients to go purchase it themselves. Hence the government should allocate more funds to ensure proper service delivery.I also felt that Karura Health Centre has room for improvement on data keeping and records.
Instead of using traditional method of storing patient’s files in drawers, and having the issue of the records accumulating for years and taking up too much space, the facility could have at least five desktop computers to manage the data electronically. This will make data management easier and more efficient. Future expansion of the organization to include a pediatric unit for children separate from the main clinic will offer more opportunities for the organization to offer specialized treatment for children. Upgrading the laboratory and equipment used in the facility and electronic booking system of patients will ensure proper client flow and quality service provision. Another opportunity is to develop a website with basic information of the organization so as to provide a platform for the public to view information and services offered by the clinic.
As weeks went by, my attitude towards community service started changing and I started appreciating that there was such a course offered in my institution. I learned to be disciplined in terms of time management, every morning for three days wake up prepare and work for three to four hours serving the community. I got a sense of fulfillment serving others. Meeting different patients from different walks of life everyday made me learn to appreciate life more and not to take certain things for granted, such as waking up healthy.
Also after seeing the hardships that people go through to get proper healthcare, it made me think through my life and not take for granted that I am healthy and will take care of my well-being and always be thankful of what I have. Learned experiences/gained knowledge I have learned and gained new knowledge in health and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage certain symptoms through observing and sometimes listening to the advice the doctors gave the patients especially when serving in the ante-natal department. The experience has also taught me to be humble and thankful, because there are many people out there who wish to have what I have yet at times I may feel like complaining about small issues and forget that there are people who are facing sufferings that require the basic need which I have.
I have interacted with many patients through volunteering to work a Karura Health Centre and all are from different walks of life and deal with difficult situations on a daily basis hence got to hear their stories. Some their houses were destroyed, burnt since they live in the slums, others battling with a disease hence daily treatment.I also learned to establish rapport with colleagues and supervisors as this facilitates good working environment and also commands respect. Some tasks were assigned to us in a group hence it meant one had to be friendly and establish good relations in order to be a good team player to execute the tasks effectively. I also gained some understanding on how expectant mothers should handle themselves during pregnancy.It has helped train me to be disciplined in terms of dedication and keeping time.
Since one has to report only three days a week and within a specific time, it forces one to be more punctual and wake up early in the morning so as not to be late. This is a good thing since it prepares one for in future and to maintain a job one needs to be punctual. I believe that I will implement this in my life and will help me move forward.Academic analysisKarura Health Centre, being a public health facility, needs to have more support from the government in terms of medical equipment and drugs because patients need access to quality medical care. It also needs to expand in the number of services offered so that patients don’t need to go to private hospitals for specialized treatment or access services such as laboratory testing.One of the main goals of the health institution is to provide and ensure that the public get quality health care with access to emergency treatment and vaccinations free of charge.
This is in accordance with the Constitution of Kenya under the Economic and Social Rights where it states that, “Every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care; and that a person shall not be denied emergency medical treatment.” (Constitution of Kenya, 2018)Karura health Centre has worked to ensure that it aligns itself to the goals of Kenya as a nation, Kenya’s vision 2030 as well aligning with the global organizations goals like the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.The mission of Karura Health Centre to provide quality healthcare to all citizens regardless of age and sex is based on the third sustainable development goal of United Nations that emphasizes on the ensuring of healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. (United Nations, 2018) The organization also operates in accordance with visualising the Kenyan Vision for 2030 in terms of the social pillar of Health which states that, “The country aims to provide an efficient integrated and high quality affordable health care to all citizens. Priority will be given to preventive care at community and household levels, through a decentralized national health-care system.with the aim to cover foundations of all the acts which are based provision and catering for as well as educating children” (Kenya Vision 2030, 2018) ConclusionAs for the few weeks that I have served at Karura Health centre, I can say that community service has offered a great experience for me because I learn a lot and also get to deliver my skills, time and effort to impact the community positively.
Most of the population that Karura Health Centre serves is the low and middle class earners who depend on the service offered to deliver quality health service to them. I learned to be humble and friendly to accommodate and serve others. In the remaining weeks to come, I still plan on continuing in the same spirit, serve the community and do what I can to help the facility achieve its goals.ReferencesConstitution of Kenya. (2018, August 09). Retrieved from Kenya Law Reform Commission: http://www.klrc.
go.ke/index.php/constitution-of-kenya/112-chapter-four-the-bill-of-rights/part-2-rights-and-fundamental-freedoms/209-43-economic-and-social-rightsKenya Vision 2030. (2018, August 09).
Retrieved from Kenya Vision 2030 Officail website: www.vision2030.go.keUnited Nations. (2018, August 09).
Retrieved from Sustainable Development Goals: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg3