Photo by Bulletin graphics
Approximate location of Kakamega hospital
The noon Rotary meeting on Wednesday will feature a presentation by Dr. Pamela Donohue, the associate professor of pediatric medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Donohue will lead a team of neonatal, obstetrics and gynecology doctors and nurses to Kenya to provide training.
The team of medical providers is from Johns Hopkins and the University of Nebraska – Kearney. When they reach Kenya, they will provide training at the neonatal unit of the Kakamega County Hospital in western Kenya.
The training is for new equipment to help improve the severe infant mortality rate.
This is part of a Rotary Global Grant project of $100,000 or more to benefit the hospital. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the infant mortality rate in Kenya has improved during the past 20 years; however, at 38.3 deaths per 1,000 lives, it still remains significantly higher than that of the United States, where the rate was 6.5 infant deaths per 1,000 lives in 2015.
The NP Noon Rotary will contribute $10,000 toward the project, along with other clubs in the district. The rest of the total will come from our Rotary District 5630, other partnering districts, as well as matching funds from Rotary International.
“This project stands to be the largest international service project ever undertaken by our Rotary District and our North Platte Noon Club has the honor and distinction of being the primary sponsoring club for this project,” said Dr. Kim Baxter, a Rotary member and project volunteer.
In December, Baxter hosted Alice Atemo of Kenya on a trip to North Platte. Atemo started an orphanage in Kakamega County.
The county hospital serves a population of about 1.6 million people. Kakamega is the poorest county in Kenya.
Baxter and his late son Craig went there in 2011 with a group of volunteer eye care professionals from Nebraska and Iowa to provide eye care and glasses to the underserved.
Baxter makes similar trips regularly to areas of the world that are in need. He takes used pairs of glasses from North Platte, and gives them to those who come to a temporary clinic for an eye exam.
Now, if money can be raised to contribute to better health care in Kenya, it will fulfill a wish from Kim’s son, Craig, who died in 2015 from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Craig’s death was a blow to the family, but prompted Kim to advocate more strongly for the Kenyan clinic, which was something Craig and he talked about after their eye care mission.
“Craig told me, 'It’d be great if we could help with their healthcare,’” Kim said in December. “I want to see it completed because of him.”