(BELLEVUE, WASH. - Jan. 30, 2008) This Friday, Seattle area nurse Brenda Maldonado leaves for Kenya where she’ll care for thousands of families fleeing a month of escalating violence since December’s controversial presidential elections.
Maldonado of Sultan, Wash., is a nurse at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland. A seasoned volunteer with Medical Teams International, she has served twice in both Iraq and Uganda, and most recently in Mexico, where disastrous floods struck last fall.
Since December 27, more than 850 people have died in the post-election violence. The United Nations reports that ethnic fighting continues to increase, spurring thousands of additional people to flee their homes and seek refuge in the government-run camps.
Maldonado joins a volunteer physician assistant from Mt. Desert, Maine, for a four-week assignment. The volunteers will travel to two temporary camps, providing urgently needed medical care to thousands with little access to food, medicines or shelter.
Media: Maldonado is available for interviews/photos from 10-11 a.m., Friday, Feb. 1, at SEATAC Airport’s Northwest Airlines ticket counter or by calling Lee Keller at 206.799.3805 to schedule an interview.
According to UNICEF, more than 250,000 people have been uprooted because of the conflict. Nearly 100,000 of those affected are children under the age of 5; all are seeking shelter in churches, schools and community centers. As the government moves displaced people to camp communities, the need for basic health clinics becomes critical.
“Because hygiene, clean water and medical care are minimal in these makeshift camps, disease outbreaks can run rampant,” explains Joe DiCarlo, director of emergency relief at Medical Teams International. “Malaria, upper respiratory infections and diarrhea escalate in these conditions, and without medicines, turn deadly. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable in the camps.”
Medical Teams International is working with its Global Relief Alliance partners, Kenya’s Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and Kenyan churches to respond to the conflict crisis.