(BELLEVUE, Wash. - February 8, 2008) The need is urgent for lifesaving medicines, food and shelter for people pouring into Kenya’s government camps, reports a volunteer nurse with Medical Teams International.
Brenda Maldonado of Sultan, Wash., is providing emergency medical care for thousands of Kenyans—many of them women and children—fleeing widespread violence triggered by December’s disputed presidential election.
“The camp situation is tragic; they live in complete squalor,” says Maldonado. “It’s heartbreaking to see people live in these conditions. They have suffered much trauma.”
The U.N. Security Council estimates that 310,000 Kenyans have been uprooted and more than 1,000 killed in six weeks of looting and gang violence. As thousands crowd into makeshift shelters, the threat of communicable diseases like dysentery, severe respiratory illness and life-threatening infections escalates.
Maldonado and a second volunteer with Medical Teams International, physician assistant Lou Ingrisano of Maine, are working in several camps, including one sponsored by a regional police station and a second affiliated with the Nairobi Women’s Hospital. Maldonado says the health workers from Nairobi, along with Kenya’s Ministry of Health, may be a turning point in stemming the ongoing violence.
“It’s important for Kenyan health workers to treat their own people and hear their stories so they can get a better picture of what has happened here,” explains Maldonado. “Many Kenyans have not been directly affected by the violence and don’t realize the severity of the camps.”
Partnering with its Global Relief Alliance partner, MAP International, Medical Teams International is planning to send medical volunteers to Kenya as funding permits.
Medical Teams International is seeking funds to help care for families fleeing widespread violence in the region. Contributions to the Kenya Disaster Fund can be made at our secure Web site, or at (800) 959.4325; or by sending donations to PO Box 10, Portland, OR 97210.
Founded in 1979 as Northwest Medical Teams, Medical Teams International is a non-profit humanitarian relief and development organization that exists to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world. In its 27-year history, Medical Teams International has deployed more the 1,600 volunteer teams and shipped more than $1 billion in antibiotics, surgical kits and lifesaving medicines to care for 35 million people in 100 countries.