In 2017, World Youth International were able to purchase a brand new, fully equipped ambulance for their Mama Ann’s Odede Community Health Centre thanks to generous donors and volunteers’ fundraising efforts. Having been in use for over two years, the impact the ambulance has had on the Odede community’s access to healthcare is evident.

The ambulance is used almost daily, often multiple times a day or night. It attends accidents, transports patients to larger hospitals when needed, and also helps to transport women in labour to Odede or other clinics in surrounding areas to give birth in emergency situations.

“The ambulance has made a huge difference for the Health Centre’s ability to care for patients, in particular victims of road accidents and women experiencing difficult or dangerous labour and childbirth,” says Fred Mito, Managing Director of Mama Ann’s Odede Community Health Centre.

“A few years ago, there was a patient who had a potential skull fracture. He had to be transported to a different hospital equipped to treat him, however we didn’t own the ambulance back then. So we had to put him on the back of a motorbike for a 30 minute trip,” says Sarah Owen, Nurses in Action Team Leader.

“The ambulance was used several times during my most recent time in Kenya however. It is vital to provide a safe method of transport to facilities with additional services that the Health Centre currently do not feature, such as operating theatres and a radiology department.”

Jane’s Story

In December 2019, a young mother named Jane, from a village nearby Odede, went into labour. She stayed at home for hours, waiting until it was time to go to Mama Ann’s Odede Community Health Centre, but eventually she realised that her labour was taking much longer than expected. By the time she decided to leave home and reached the Health Centre, the medics realised that Jane needed to be rushed to the larger Bondo Hospital, more than 30 minutes away, for a possible emergency caesarean.

Once the ambulance arrived at Bondo Hospital, the doctors stated that they could not perform the procedure, and the ambulance then had to rush Jane to a different hospital in Kisumu, a further 1.5 hours away. Eventually, the medics at Kisumu Hospital helped Jane to safely deliver her baby, as they had more advanced equipment than the rural health centres. By this time, Jane was exhausted and her baby was still in danger. After delivery, Jane’s baby remained at Kisumu Hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for two weeks.

In January 2020, Jane brought her baby to Mama Ann’s Odede Community Health Centre for her first post-natal visit. Jane had recovered well, and her baby is growing stronger every day.

“If our ambulance was not here, this story could have been very different”, says Fred.

Ambulances are something that we in Australia take for granted. Call 000, and you need to wait only minutes for medical professionals to come to your aid. In Kenya, the situation is very different. The Odede Ambulance is used not only by the people in Odede village, but by other villages and health centres in a radius of up to 2-3 hours. Thousands of people every year finally have the ability to call for help when they need it; and for Jane and her baby, we know that the ambulance made their futures possible.

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