The Health Centre was officially opened on 12 November 2011. The Centre offers high medical standard with modern equipment and well-educated staff. The Centre provides a broad spectrum of medical services including primary care, dental care, HIV prevention, childbirth services and maternity care, vaccinations, basic surgery, lab tests, diagnoses as well as preventive care and education in health-related matters and a pharmacy.
The health situation in Kenya is slowly but surely improving. At the same time, there are differences between cities and countryside when it comes to availability of healthcare, with a doctor-density outside the big cities corresponding to around one percent of the Swedish level.
Gundua Health Centre collaborates with Rotary’s medical bank, which means that primarily dentists from the Nordic countries contribute with their know how and experience to the clinic. Apotek Hjärtat supports the centre with important pharmaceutical competence and is the main sponsor of the health centre.
Even if care and medication are important, there is a lot to gain from preventive care. The long-term ambition of Gundua Health Centre is to increase the standard of living in the region by battling problems such as malnutrition, resistance to antibiotics, alcoholism, sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. The main challenge is to increase the inhabitants’ generally low knowledge of hygiene and health. And the first step to generate change is to educate the children. Sexual information and family planning is neglected and many students at Gundua Secondary School are forced to interrupt their studies because they get pregnant.
The Kenyan state runs information campaigns about HIV, and HIV drugs are subsidised. Despite these efforts, there remains a flippant attitude, especially among men. It’s a common view that if a man is infected by a woman he can “return” the illness to another woman – something that has led to an increase in the transmission of HIV, syphilis and other venereal diseases. Another misunderstanding shared among both patients and pharmacy and healthcare employees is that all illnesses can be cured with antibiotics and malaria vaccine. Malaria is not even present in the area.
Today the health centre offers well functioning primary care services with a pharmacy and an expanded laboratory for qualified medical testing. Education and information meetings in preventive aim, help to self-help, are offered continuously. Both maternal care as well as follow-up of newborns are handled by our competent staff. It’s all about building trust with the local community and make them understand that Gundua Health Centre offers them qualified medical care compared to other services in the area. Great results have been achieved. Since the start the centre has seen more than 20,000 patients visits, 16,500 completed lab tests, nearly 200 childbirths, 1,100 HIV-tests, 2,500 child vaccinations and hundreds of educational meetings. Thanks to the agreement with Apotek Hjärtat, the Gundua Foundation has secured both financial and knowledge-based support for a long time in the future.