Bulletin Update No 59

Pastor Daniel Ntheeu is the most incredibly dedicated man to his people and to our cause. He has completed the required building works of the Dispensary meeting the requirements of the Kenyan government. He has engaged with the doctor, who is the District Health Officer, and she is writing a letter of recommendation to accompany Daniel’s application for registration of the Dispensary to obtain a licence from the Kenyan government to operate as a Medical Centre. On top of all this Daniel has engaged the services of a registered nurse to commence working in the Medical Centre in July. The nurse is fully qualified as I understand even to practice midwifery. This combined with Ruth Ntheeu’s first aid course with St John Ambulance, should make a great combined service to the people of Kanthi. All this without the aid of Hon. Rachael Nyamai……still silence from this government minister! Daniel is very impressed with the assistance from the District Health Officer.

What a life changing experience this is for the people of Kanthi. They have water ‘on tap’ in the village. A Greenhouse growing a tomato crop to help sustain the village. A Nursery school for their little ones and now this Medical Centre within their village.

A couple of more requirements I wish to meet are to supply the medical equipment to equip the Medical Centre and also raise some funds to pay for the nurse’s wages for about three months until their tomato crops are viable to sell at market and hence bring in income to support the Centre. Pastor Daniel has negotiated a monthly wage of Ksh 25,000.00 which is approximately A$333.00 depending on conversion rate. Patients also will be required to pay for services to maintain viability.

I am currently contacting medical suppliers to try to obtain equipment, as per the list published in Bulletin Update No. 58, hopefully being donated by a supplier otherwise at a discounted rate. Currently I have enough money to pay for the equipment listed if Daniel purchases it in Nairobi and another term’s food for the Nursery school children. However that leaves me short for the Nursery school children’s teacher’s wages and the wages for the nurse. The Nursery school teacher’s wage being paid by the village was dependant on the Greenhouse and when the water was cut off then the crop that they had sown failed without water.

So I am planning another ‘small’ fundraising event possibly a garage sale in Anglesea or a mini walkathon in Melbourne…….I shall keep you posted.

If anyone wishes to read previous bulletin updates please visit the ‘new’ website, thanks to Derek Whitten, at www.walkforwater.com.au

Cheers,
HELEN

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Update Bulletin 58

Well we are ‘up and running’ full steam ahead again with regards to the Greenhouse. You might remember the water was cut off for sometime and I have not been able to get any communications from Hon. Rachael Nyamai MP for a couple of months. I rang her, she answered, said she was in a meeting and would ring back, that was two months ago. My subsequent emails have gone unanswered……so frustrating! However in speaking with Daniel last night he said they have had water once a week but then for whatever reason they had water for a ‘whole’ week and Daniel wisely filled both the 10,000 litre tanks, so he is very happy. Subsequently he told me that he went ahead and planted tomatoes and these are the crops below:

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This means they will now have an income to pay the Nursery school teacher. I had sent money over for the children’s breakfast and lunches and for the teacher for the first term’s tuition.

The toilet (or long drop) as it is known has been finished as to the incinerator pit. Daniel received an itemised list from the doctor regarding medical supplies, which if you remember, Hon. Rachael Nyamai said the Government would provided once we built the centre and registered it. Apparently we cannot register it until she gives us a letter of authority to take to Nairobi!
The doctor said we have to access a nurse ourselves……still trying.

I am displaying the list of medical items they require. I am trying to decide if we can access them freely here then send them over, via someone, otherwise I shall send the money for Daniel to purchase them there. The total cost is Ksh 26,100.00 which is approximately A$348.00. I still have some funds however I was hoping we might have access via a medical supplier. Daniel wrote: The doctor said after the purchase of this items they would be in a position to reply on way forward,they also said since this is a community based facility the comunity is suposed to faccilitate the nurse.Thanks for the continued support

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For those who wish to access previous bulletin updates please visit our website www.walkforwater.com.au

Cheers,
HELEN

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Update Bulletin 57

Please see below the progression of the building requirements of the Government regarding the construction of a toilet and a pit to burn the needles. Firstly making the bricks then laying them.

These photos were forward by Daniel last week.


Upon the completion of these work requirements Daniel will seek a letter from the doctor in Mutomo to take to Nairobi to the Kenyan government offices to register the Medical Centre.

Note the completed Medical Centre building in the background of the construction works, the rendered surface and patterned windows.

If you wish to read previous bulletin updates visit the website www.walkforwater.com.au/news

Cheers

Helen

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Update Bulletin 56

Having contacted Daniel last week I was advised that he had contacted a doctor regarding the outstanding issues to have the Dispensary registered. The issues being toilet, pits and a nurse. Daniel is currently addressing these issues, firstly they are required to have three pits. The village people are digging these pits, the first is a toilet pit, the second is a pit to burn the used needles and the third to burn the rubbish.

With regards the nurse, Sister Laboure in Ireland, (a Mercy nun and the sister of the late Father Michael Sheehy) has forwarded, by air mail, all the information regarding the Dispensary to Sister Okumu at the Mutomo hospital (a missionary hospital run by the Mercy nuns). Sister Joachim, a Kenyan nun on the Mercy Leadership team did all the work for Sister Laboure. I shall endeavour to contact Sister Okumu next week to allow time for the airmail information to be processed. Fingers crossed we may be able to have the assistance of a Mercy nun nursing sister to ‘get started’. I forwarded further money to Daniel on Saturday last being for a term’s food for the Nursery school children, money for the uniforms for the 26 children newly enrolled this year. Also money for the last of the building works and finally Ksh 23,000.00 (A$319.44) being the application and registration fee to register the Dispensary with the Kenyan Government. When registered the Government should supply free vaccinations and supplies for the centre.

We are almost there, what a celebration we should have when the Dispensary is up and operating!!

For those who have missed previous bulletin updates please visit the website www.walkforwater.com.au/news

Cheers,

HELEN

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Update Bulletin 55

True to his word, Daniel has sent a summary of works, receipts and photos…..we are nearly there, fabulous! Please see Daniel’s message, copy of receipts and some photos, all thanks to your generosity and support.

Daniel writes:

GREETINGS

THE WORK AFTER FUND RAISING IS AS BELOE

1-WE HAVE MADE CHAIRS

2-TABLES

3-EXAMINATION COAC H

4-BENCHES

WE HAVE BOUGHT CHAIN LINK AND BARBED WIRES .WE HAVE STARTED FENC ING AS SHOWN BELOW.

WE BOUGHT MAIN DOOR AT A COST OF 19000KSH,WHICH SECURES THE W HOLE HOSPIOTAL. WE CLOSEDB THE PRE-UNIT TODAY WITH A TOTYAL OF 26 PUPILS. WE ARE ON THE PROCESS OF REGIOSTER

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Points to note: The fence around the ‘compound’ is to keep the place secure as to are the front doors. The furniture certainly looks solid. 26 pupils I believe means at the Nursery school. Now we just need the toilets, nurse’s room and a nurse………..then registration with the Government and we are up and operating!!

For those who have missed any previous Bulletin Update please visit the website www.walkforwater.com.au/news

Cheers,

HELEN

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Update Bulletin 54

Some encouraging news in the fact that I was speaking with Daniel and Ruth last night and Ruth said it has been and is still raining there, not a lot but welcomed. Their tomato crops in and they are growing which is fabulous. I replied to Rachael’s email and express delight that the Primary school project ‘is still alive’ when her Government sees fit to release funds to build the school, hopefully for the first intake in 2016.

The project with the Dispensary is on track under Daniel’s management, being that he is having a chain wire fence built to protect the property and its contents. The posts are in and they hope the chain wire will be finished in a week or so. They will then start on the toilets and nurse’s room. Daniel had engaged with a doctor from Mutomo hospital asking his advice regarding outfitting the Dispensary. I still have not received a reply from CHAK, a overseas Christian organization which supplies missionary medical staff to centres. I shall follow up further and hopefully between Daniel and myself we may secure the services of a registered nurse and maybe just maybe a doctor visiting the Dispensary on specific days!! Daniel said he hopes to send photos in the near future.

Ruth and Daniel wishes all a very happy Easter and my I reiterate those wishes also.

Should you wish to read previous bulletin update please visit the website www.walkforwater.com.au/news

Cheers,

HELEN

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Update Bulletin 53

Finally the lines of communications have opened up again with Rachael and I have enclosed her emailed reply to my questions as follows:

Dear all,

Thanks for the communication. I would like to start by thanking Hellen and all those who care to help the people of Kanthi in Kitui south constituency in Mutomo. I was at Kanthi last Sunday the 7the of March with Daniel and others. We are doing our best as community members to supplement the efforts of Hellen. Daniel will also attest to this.

I want to confirm that we are indeed collaborating with Kanthi community in both the hospital and the school. The school land was purchased by Gov of Kenya, because there was no public utility land around Kanthi. CDF will support construction of classrooms, not just the mentioned one (1). Hellen I was unable to tell you the date for the commencement and preferred to wait till the funds are availed. We have all along involved Daniel and the community in seeking their patience on this matter. What I can assure you is that the as soon as we receive the funds for the year 14/15 we will start on construction works. It takes two months to complete a classroom. Our Gov has been very slow in releasing development funds so I request that you bear with us.

This is the best strategy to engage the Gov in health:

It’s important to note that the hospital can exist in isolation. Once the hospital is fully constructed, we will have it registered by the county and the national Gov. This will be done after an inspection by the health officials. This is easy and small payments for registration are required. I will facilitate registration at the national level. Quality control is done by the Gov.

Once a facility is registered, the free Gov commodities commonly referred to as international programme commodities will be availed. Vaccines and other commodities which are provided for free will be provided if the facility proofs to have qualified staff and proper storage eg proper open shelves and cooling facilities as it may apply. Refilling will be done on production of evidence of use by the health facility signed by the district medical officer. To me the best at the moment is to finalize and equip the health facility. As soon as that’s done we will support Daniel step by step.

Finally the health facility is free to collaborate with any other institution locally or/internationally.

Warm regards.

Rachael

One thing I have learned in dealing with the Government of Kenya is patience…….I hope that the 2014/2015 budget monies will flow through soon…..2014 is over and the first quarter of 2015 is almost over….lets hope the funds will flow through before July, 2015 and therefore we may have a classroom for when this ‘second’ intake of Nursery school children are ready to transgress into a Primary school in 2016.

I spoke with Daniel this evening and he said that the Dispensary is great. He has had advice from a doctor as to the internal needs of the Dispensary in order to gain registration by the Government of Kenya. They need a nurse’s quarters, one room, together with toilets for patients and workers. Daniel wants to build a fence around the property also. He has had workers in accessing the works needed. He kept telling me that he was trying to manage with the money they raised from their fundraising event and would send all the information, scanned receipts in due course.

I so admire his tenacity. Daniel told me that he has filled the ‘big’ tanks with the ‘little’ water that has come through the pipeline and that they have now been able to plant a tomato crops and are watering them from the tank water. He is hoping for rains ‘soon’, he said they should be coming. They SO WANT TO BE SELF SUFFICIENT, I truly admire them. I did send a request to a Kenyan Christian organisation called CHAK requesting assistance with facilitating the Dispensary, to date I have not had a reply. I tried to ring CHAK tonight by the exchange said the lines are congested and try again very late at night. I guess all we can do is wait now for the remaining building works to be completed, a nurse employed and then we can apply for registration to have the centre UP AND RUNNING!

Should you wish to read past bulletin updates please visit the website www.walkforwater.com.au/news

Cheers,

HELEN

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Update Bulletin 52

I received a lovely telephone call from Daniel last night advising me of the situation in Kanthi village. He was so excited to speak and tell me of the successful fundraising event that the people held last Sunday, 8th March. All the village people contacted their family members in the big cities or overseas and requested them to collect a donation from other family members and friends

They raised in excess of Ksh 200,000.00 plus 100 bags of 100 kg of cement were donated on the day. If the conversion rate is approximately 70 cents then they raised nearly $2,900.00……this is why I wish to continuing helping these people as they are so willing to help themselves…..their Government does not seem to help them. From the women digging the 8 km. trench with their hands (see Kanthi Bulletin Update No. 5 of 8th August, 2012) to holding a fundraising event as Daniel said “so we don’t have to ask Hellen to give us more money’! They wish to build a room to house the nurse and also toilets for the nurse and patients……hopefully a septic tank for the Dispensary. Daniel intends to fence the Dispensary in so that everything is ‘under lock and key’ for safety reasons.

During the conversation Daniel also advised me that they had approximately 20 children enrolled in the Nursery school for 2015. Here again they will persist to try to continue with their projects. Daniel ordered uniforms for the new children and when I was relating this to two lovely ladies they donated $100.00 for the uniforms…….so generous!

Another little piece of news that Ruth related was that the Government releases water to the village one day per week, of a Friday. It certainly is not enough but they ‘were grateful for small mercies’! They hope when the rains come then the source will be able to sustain them.

I received a further reply to my email requests from Ostrich……a Government Health Specialist:

Hi Hellen,

It is quite sad that the water project crashed. The success of a water supply project relies on the source. I suppose this a larger public scheme. This may as well be inadequate, which is often the case.

Regarding the dispensary matter, Daniel require to engage with the Kitui County Director of Health. The government and faith-based health institutions had structured mechanisms for collaboration and partnering all along. This may have changed a bit with introduction of county government structure. Nevertheless, the two (public &affair has-based) health systems should work together with effective stewardship. I am looking at deliberations of the Kenya Health Policy Forum on sustainable institutions for universal health care and will advice Kanthi project appropriately. For the time being, Daniel need to contact/consult the Kitui County Health authority. Registration of the facility with Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board either as a Community or Faith-based facility is a regulatory requirement. At the same time the facility should be registered as a Service Delivery Point (SDP) under Kitui County Health System. As a SDP, the facility can be provided with vaccines and family planning resources free by the County government.

We continue interacting through this forum

Cheers

Ostrich.

I am disappointed at the defeatist attitude of Octrich ‘It is quite sad that the water project crashed’. This was such a viable project and can be rejuvenated if the Government ‘lifted their game’, and he is a Government worker! Let’s hope that Hon. Rachael Nyamai may have time to respond to what her Government is doing ‘to assist the people of Kanthi’, her constituents. Her constituents are more than willing to help themselves. They are to be commended! I hope to have some photos from Daniel soon together with news of the registration of the Dispensary.

Should you wish to view past Bulletin Update please visit the website www.walkforwater.com.au/news

Cheers,

HELEN

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Update Bulletin 51

I am writing further to the matter of having the Dispensary operational. Prior to received the email from Ostrich, I had contacted the Nairobi hospital and spoke with Sister Anne Itotia, a Mercy nun whose name was given to me by Sister Mary Geason, in Melbourne. I spoke with Sister Itotia who put me in touch with Dr. Osoro-mbui who in turn advised me to contact CHAK (Christian Health Association of Kenya, a missionary organization).

However I since received an email from Peterson Muriithi (Ostrich) whom I met when he was in Australia and when he participated in the Walk for Water event. Ostrich is a Public Health Specialist in Kenya and I note his email and my response with regards the Government’s part in the Dispensary. My comments in my response are due to the ‘failed water issue’ due to the Kenyan Government:

Dear Hellen,

I congratulate you for the consistent support to the people of Kanthi. I differ strongly with Daniel’s position regarding the dispensary. I am well versed with the organization and regulation of health care in Kenya as a Public Health Specialist. Registering and licensing of the dispensary with the government is a legal requirement. It is also important to distinguish the ownership of the facility as whether Community or Faith-based. Majority of public dispensaries (level II) in Kenya are community initiatives which eventually are taken by the government. The community remains key stakeholders and are involved in the management and leadership. On the hand the government is responsible for staffing and supplies. If the dispensary is established as a faith-based, the facility can also benefit from government support of it is affiliated to Christian health Association of Kenya (CHAK) or Catholic Secretariat -health.

Further, if the establishment of the dispensary is felt need, then I don’t see the reason it cannot be supported as develop agenda of the County Government.

I foresee a major setback if the facility goes solo. The fee collected cannot sustain a clinician, probably they can afford salary of a enrolled community nurse.

This development requires some guidance.

Regards,

Peterson (ostrich).

My response:

Hi Ostrich,

So nice to hear from you after a long silence. I am pleased that you are still receiving my Bulletin Updates and are “up to speed” with the developments in Kanthi village…..the model village with a Water Kiosk (water supply), Greenhouse (food source), Nursery school (education) and now Dispensary (health).

I appreciate that licensing of the Dispensary with the Government is a legal requirement and I shall address this issue with Pastor Daniel.

I wish this Dispensary to be registered as a Community based dispensary owned and run by the people of Kanthi under the guidance of a clinician. This too will be in consultation with Daniel. I am dubious about the Dispensary being “eventually taken by the government” due to a previous case related to me whereby the Government took charge and the Dispensary has closed.

Disappointingly is the case of the water issue to Kanthi. I have written emails to Hon. Rachael Nyamai regarding the issue of the water source being ceased since September 2014 to Kanthi and Rachael rang me in Australia and said that money was the issue and did not really know when the source would be connected. Rachael also promised to have one classroom of a Primary school built by December, 2014 for the Nursery school children to transfer over to Primary school. This was not completed and when I asked when it would be built in several emails, there has been again silence, sadly.

You having lived in Australia and participated in the Walk for Water and saw the effort we made in raising money for the initiatives in Kanthi village and now to see the project fail and the domino effect the water has on the Greenhouse crops, they have failed due to lack of water…………..I am beginning to have scepticism after three years of hard work. I do not wish to abandon the wonderful people of Kanthi, especially the women who have worked so hard therefore I request that you as a Public Health Specialist initiate and implement what you advised, that is “On the hand the government is responsible for staffing and supplies”.

When we licence the Dispensary will you as a Public Health Specialist order and deliver supplies and staff the Dispensary please? Also when will this happen, how long after we apply and are granted a licence for the Dispensary? Please be realistic in your response and not just “political spin”.

You stated “this development requires some guidance”, what are you therefore offering?

I look forward to your urgent reply as we need to have this operational a.s.a.p.

Cheers,

HELEN

As Ostrich contacted me I do hope he will reply in the affirmative to my requests, that the Kenyan Government will view our gestures and give continued support to our initiatives. Lets hope they also see light to reconnect the water as it is very expensive to buy water! These wonderful women dug with their picks and shovel “now in vein”……how lucky are we?

If you wish to read previous bulletin updates please visit the website www.walkforwater.com.au/news

Cheers,

HELEN

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Update Bulletin 50

Since the last bulletin update I have sent the money to Daniel to have the joinery made for the Dispensary. I have learned today that all the chairs, benches and desk have been made and he is now waiting on the examination couch. I have also learned from Daniel as to why he does not want the Dispensary registered with the Government. I assumed that because it was ‘community’ owned and not open to the ‘general public’ as a Government requirement. However this is not the case. Daniel does not want the Dispensary registered with the Government due to the fact that if the Government is involved there is a likelihood from past experiences the project will collapse. I see this since being dependant on a Government water source this has happened with the Water Project in Kanthi. The water between the source and Mutomo has collapsed……being so since September, 2014, therefore there is no water to flow from Mutomo to Kanthi.

Daniel has purchased water when he was building the Dispensary and so it has meant additional funds were required. Therefore in order to complete the Dispensary Daniel used some of the money I forwarded for the Nursery school teacher’s wage….two months worth! It is so frustrating dealing with their Government. I sent another email on 23rd January, 2015 to Hon. Rachael Nyamai MP requesting dates when the water might be connected, when the first classroom of the Primary school will be started and requesting photos she had promised. The email has been met with silence.

Daniel advised me in a telephone conversation that he is to hold a Fund Raising event on 8th March, 2015. This is where the people of Kanthi village enlist the help of their children, relatives and friends who work in the city to donate towards their cause. They hope to try to build a Primary classroom so the Nursery school children who finished in 2014 do not have to walk ‘that terrible trek’ and can move into for a Primary school in their village. If we opened a Nursery school then the Government promised to have the first classroom opened in December, 2014, however ‘not a sod of soil has been turned’. They have new children enrolled in the Nursery school for 2015. I sent money for the teacher’s salary for six months, however this has been reduced to four months due to the purchase of the water.

I asked Daniel about employing a clinician in the Dispensary…..he is trying to source one. I have put a telephone call through to the Nairobi Hospital where the Mercy nuns work. The Mercy Order’s head office in Melbourne gave me the name of Sister Anne Itotia who works in the Nairobi hospital but she was not available today so I shall call back tomorrow during Administration working hours. Hopefully Sister might guide me as to how to source a clinician or even better still, send a missionary nun to assist. Daniel said they will charge a small consultation fee to a patient and this money will go towards the clinician’s wage….if they can get the water connected and grow more crops then they can fully finance a clinician’s salary.

A wonderful group of workers have foregone their Kris Kindle work tradition of giving presents and donated their money towards the purchase of medical supplies for the Dispensary. I never cease to be amazed at the generosity of people who have supported these projects over a period of three years….as Daniel would say ‘God bless you all richly’. He is to source out what medical supplies are needed and advise accordingly. We are both determined that this will be a viable project devoid of any Government interference.

If you wish to read past bulletin updates please visit our website www.walkforwater.com.au/news

Cheers,

HELEN

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