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Imagine a child you love developed a leg infection. Imagine the anxiety of wondering whether they would lose their leg, or even their life. Imagine if you were finally able to get them to a hospital, only to be discharged before treatment was complete. For the parents of 13 year-old Peter Okello, this was their reality.
It began with a small wound that became infected, resulting in severe skin loss. Peter’s family took him to a government hospital, only to be discharged because of a nationwide doctor’s strike in Kenya. For 3 months, government doctors across Kenya participated in a strike to demand better pay and conditions. The result was that there was no public access to tertiary care for services like surgeries, blood transfusions, and skin grafts.
Peter’s family was unsure of where to turn for help. Fearful of the costs but determined to help their son, they sought guidance from their community and learned about Lwala Community Alliance (Lwala). In the midst of the strike, all of Lwala’s clinicians remained in their posts. When Peter arrived at Lwala, his leg was already beyond our level of available treatment. As soon as we saw the wound, we knew that infection had set in, and the wound was in dire need of higher care. Because of the strike, we could not refer Peter to a government hospital, and the cost of a private hospital was beyond the family’s ability to pay.
Lwala has a referral fund to cover costs for those in need of advanced care. We believe that everyone deserves access to high quality care, regardless of their ability to pay. This belief is at the core of one of our foundational values: our commitment to neighborliness.
Fearing that Peter would lose his leg or even face death if he wasn’t treated quickly, we decided that we would help Peter, no matter the costs. Through our referral fund, Lwala covered the cost of a skin graft for Peter at a private hospital. Our team continues to provide home-based check-ups to monitor his progress. Today, Peter is walking, playing volleyball, and dreaming of a future as a policeman. This is a future that would not have been possible without the generosity of our allies who donate to the referral fund.
With no end in sight to the Nurses’ Strike, we anticipate many more patients like Peter, yet because of this unexpected turmoil, our referral fund has already been depleted for the year.
We need your help to raise $40,000. Please give today to replenish our referral fund and make good on our collective belief that no one should die because of where they are born.
Learn more about the Doctors’ Strike here.