Africa is receiving unprecedented attention from the rest of the world for its health, political, and humanitarian crises. Philanthropists and celebrities have been crisscrossing the continent drawing global attention to African challenges. Although charity is important, it is not enough. Africa, like many emerging economies, has serious problems that cannot be ignored. One such major area of concern is inadequate healthcare systems. AIDS, cancer, malaria and respiratory infections are national level problems that are staring at most of the countries in Africa.

What is needed apart from aid is groundwork, setting up hospitals, extending modern medicine and healthcare facilities to these countries. That’s where my-healthconnect has stepped in.

At my-healthconnect, we’re trying to find a way to make our health care system work in a humane way for patients in Africa, an affordable way for consumers, and a profitable way for providers. We want to extend the miracles of modern medicine with preventive care for everybody. We want fewer medical errors and more evidence-based treatments. And we want lower medical costs and insurance premiums, with taxes for health care, kept to a minimum.

That’s a pretty tall order but we are confident in getting there. Already, a year and half into health reform, we’re seeing an openness by our host countries and with every medical out reach camp, we are seeing more patients walking up to us with confidence.

In the year and half, we have hosted close to eight camps in different parts of Africa. People come to our camps to seek consultation, meet doctors, procure medicines and also to seek opinion on their medical travel plans to India. Here’s an account of our experience from our medical camp at Nairobi,Kenya.

Kenya- East Africa’s Flourishing Country

As the hub of an East African economic community that is seeing rapid population growth, Kenya is a country that is poised for growth and development. Kenya’s capital is Nairobi a thriving city that is also referred to as the “Green City in the Sun.”

Nairobi – The capital established by the British towards the end of the 19th century. Established as a railway hub, it thrived as a trading center and dominated Kenya’s economic activities. In 1954 it got the status of a city and continues to remain Kenya’s capital even after Kenya’s independence in 1963.

Today however Nairobi continues to buckle under the burden of urbanization and its utilities are always under stress. Health services for one are not properly distributed. Funds allocated for them are perpetually underutilized. What is required then is a service that will increase access to health providers. That is exactly where my-healthconnect stepped in. In May 2018, after a camp in Bosaso in neighboring Somalia, my-healthconnect sent its team of Rheumatologists to Nairobi. A medical camp was set up at the Andalus Hospital in East Leigh in Nairobi. A debut effort, its success can be measured by the number of cases handled.

Details from the camp

In the first week itself, fifty patients suffering from back pain, knee pain and other joint pains lined up for a consultation with our specialist. The diagnoses varied from an isolated incident of a long time fractured toe to a more complicated lumbar canal stenosis and the very common arthritis of the knee joint. The revelations were noteworthy. About two-thirds of the patients were women and on running tests on them it emerged that the prime cause for it was a deficiency of calcium and/or Vitamin D.

This led my-healthconnect to hold an educative session for such women and for women in their forties or older. The following aspects were explained in simple terms:

– Stiffness in the body and loss of flexibility are caused by loss of bone strength, muscle elasticity and muscle tone over time. As a result, one can experience pain in the lower back. It is important to exercise regularly. Exercises that include stretches, muscle and core strengthening, and cardio or aerobic activity will help control these losses.

– Pelvic floor exercises are particularly important, during and after pregnancy, to build strength in the pelvic area and prevent lower back pain at a later date.

– As age advances metabolism slows down resulting in weight gain. This is fueled by improper dietary habits/practices. A good diet plan coupled with regular exercises together helps better weight management A balance has to be maintained between the upper body and lower body weight. Controlling weight of upper body reduces the burden on the knees and thereby damage to them. Controlling lower body weight prevents lower body pain which prevents avoidance of exercise.

– Another common cause for pain is the deficiency of Vitamin D and has gained epidemic proportions the world over. The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Exercise routines that can be done in the open to give the body exposure to sunlight are highly recommended. If diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency, the intake of supplements is often prescribed. A routine of simple exercises in the sun like long walks preferably before 10 AM or after 4 PM can prove effective. We hope to follow up regularly on these patients.

Winning trust and appreciation

Nairobi gave us a lot of love, appreciation, and friends. Patients or caregivers who came in for treatment now have turned into close friends, like Lucy. We met Lucy a vivacious accountant on a flight to Nairobi. She was curious about the work we did and we briefed her about our camp. Lucy said she felt we were God sent!

Her husband had met with an accident and was in pain and she was looking for the right treatment for him. We exchanged notes and urged her to bring him to the camp. The next day standing amongst other patients we found Lucy with her husband and an elderly lady. Lucy had shared the information about our camp in her friend’s circle and had brought along her close friend’s mother for diagnosis. Our doctors at the camp diagnosed the elderly lady and prescribed medication for her acute case of arthritis. Lucy’s husband too was advised medication along with physiotherapy. The relief and joy on Lucy’s face that evening was priceless. We were touched by the way she wanted to extend the benefits of our camp to her family and friends. Lucy has since then become a very dear friend who has helped us understand the local needs and other requirements in her town. See what Lucy has, to say about us.

“Hi, I am Lucy from Kenya. I am writing here today to thank my Indian friends from my-healthconnect for setting up medical camps here for us in Nairobi. These camps are good as they offer quick relief with advanced treatment and quality drugs. We look forward to more such camps for our locals especially for treatment for Cancer, a national concern for us. I urge you to bring quality doctors to help us fight this deadly disease. Best of luck and love from Kenya.”

Like Lucy, we want to reach out to many more people in Kenya. It is our endeavor and dream to provide quality healthcare at affordable cost to people across the globe. If you’d like us to conduct medical health camps in your city/town/village please do drop in a mail to us. Also, do keep checking our medical camps calendar on our social medical handle for getting to know of our future camps near you.