Once upon a time, I thought that all I needed to be happy and successful was a secure job as a nurse practitioner in a bustling city. I qualified as a nurse in Italy, where I graduated receiving an all-round training. In 2015 I moved to London, where I have worked as a stroke nurse at the Royal London Hospital, gaining experience in a hyper acute unit. But there was still a void in my career path.
I am Elena, and I would like to introduce you to Safari Doctors, an extraordinary organization that has challenged me to change my life. I have always had the desire to explore different types of medical systems, so in October 2017 I decided to volunteer for Safari Doctors. Little did I know that these 5 weeks would be life-changing as I now pack up to move continents and embrace the world of medical service in its purest form.
Safari Doctors was born in 2015 from the dream of an inspiring woman, Umra Omar, a 2016 CNN Hero and 2017 recipient of the UN in Kenya's Person of the Year Award. I have joined a passionate group of staff and medical volunteers who set sail every month in a boat loaded with medicines and medics to deliver medical care to remote and marginalized communities in Lamu County, Kenya. We reach a population of approximately 20,000 marginalized Aweer and Bajuni people that live within the archipelago and on the mainland near the border with Somalia, where security threats have impeded access to healthcare.
What has really captivated me about Safari Doctors is the innovative model that is being developed: using boats or motorbikes, the initiative can reach remote places that don’t have even basic treatments. Every month the team reaches up to 800 patients, and the results have been exciting:
- Child immunizations are up at least 40%
- Skin conditions are down 30%
- Communicable diseases are down by 50%
- Expectant mothers visiting clinics for antenatal appointments is up by 100%
- Demand for contraception is up 300%
Safari Doctors works in a very challenging environment: the clinics are improvised under trees, or in classrooms that children give up during team visits. There is very little continuity of care, and there are presently no medical records or a reliable inventory of drugs. As an experienced nurse, I will develop and implement systems to improve these services and help increase the effectiveness of our work.
With your generous donations I will be able to continue what I have started during my voluntary work. Moreover, I will supervise the clinics to ensure that the communities receive the most appropriate treatment, and I will work on the progress of the existing model, elaborating new programs based on my medical knowledge and on my endless passion.
Thank you for supporting me in my journey for change,