Story by Jacqueline Mwende. Photos by Amon Tole, Missions of Hope International (MOHI).
Twelve-year-old Leimalu, from a remote commuity in Northern Kenya, is among 109 children who have benefitted from the CURE medical safari conducted in August 2021.
Leimalu has been experiencing pain, swelling and stiffness on his left knee for twelve years which caused him difficulties in walking. The condition weighed heavily on the family because they lacked a medical solution for their son. In August 2021, AIC-CURE International Hospital Kijabe planned for a mobile clinic in Kargi, Marsabit County and Missions of Hope International (MOHI) mobilized the communities to participate.
Leimalu’s parents jumped at the very chance that would change his life. He was brought before the Orthopaedic specialists at the mobile clinic for a physical examination. During assessment, the specialists discovered that the cartilage and bones; on his left knee were damaged, a condition called Osteoarthritis. It is a degenerative disorder caused when the cartilage in the joints breaks down over time, causing pain during movement.
They booked him in for a Knee Fusion at the CURE Kijabe Hospital in October 2021. Knee Fusion is the surgery that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone, whose goal is to create a stable, immobile joint in order to relieve debilitating pain. The surgery was successful. Leimalu has fully regained his normal walking posture.
Northern Kenya lacks the provision for even the most basic healthcare, specifically for people living with disabilities (PLWD). Children and adults with disabilities not only suffer the stigma and shame of their condition but also the pain of treatable conditions left untended.
Travelling by road to provide medical services to isolated communities takes approximately four days leaving medical teams worn out. On reaching their destinations, they require time to rest before they can start offering the necessary medical services. Time scheduled for running the mobile clinics is spent on road travel making it difficult for them to serve many patients.
The partnership between MAF Kenya, CURE and MOHI ensures that the medical team spend one to two hours of travel by air using the MAF aircraft during the CURE medical safaris. The team gets on the ground refreshed and ready to kick start the assessment of the patients.