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Feb. 1 , 2008

Mailman Center Provides Medical Services to Kenyans Displaced by Violence

Dr. Eliud Mwangi, a program officer for ICAP Kenya, tends to a young child.
Dr. Eliud Mwangi, a program officer for ICAP Kenya, tends to a young child.

In response to the need for urgent medical care for people displaced by political unrest and violence in Kenya, the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP), part of Columbia University ‘s Mailman School of Public Health, held a mobile medical clinic on Jan. 18 at the police lines near the Mathare slum in Nairobi.

More than 200 people whose homes have been burned or destroyed received basic medical care at the clinic. This included care for respiratory infections and referrals for suspected tuberculosis.

ICAP staff, who normally provide support to people with or affected by HIV/AIDS, also provided counseling for those needing to speak with someone about their experiences.

“ICAP is heartened to be able to provide medical services and support to the people of Kenya whose lives have been affected by the unrest,” said ICAP Director Wafaa El-Sadr, M.D.

ICAP Kenya Country Director Mark Hawken added that ICAP staff will continue to reach out to Kenyans during this difficult period and offer whatever support they are able to provide as health professionals.

ICAP Nurse Zilpha Samoei, Clinical Officer Simon Kibera, and Nelson Mureithi (ICAP staff member) dispense prescriptions at the Mathare medical camp and promote the message: What is the benefit of knowing your HIV status?
ICAP Nurse Zilpha Samoei, Clinical Officer
Simon Kibera, and Nelson Mureithi (ICAP
staff member) dispense prescriptions at the
Mathare medical camp and promote the
benefits of knowing your HIV status.

“We are also working closely with the healthcare sites that we support to ensure that all patients continue to have access to HIV services and anti-HIV medicines,” he said.

Mathare, a sprawling slum that is home to half a million people, has been heavily affected by the violence that ensued following December’s disputed presidential election. The unrest has resulted in the deaths of more than 600 people and the displacement of an estimated 250,000 individuals in the country.

In Kenya, ICAP supports 35 healthcare facilities providing HIV care to more than 24,000 people, including antiretroviral therapy to more than 9,300 people. These facilities are located in Central and Eastern Provinces and include both district hospitals and health centers.