The health projects consist of the hospital, the HIV/Aids clinic (VCT) and the orthopedic workshop.
In 1996 a small clinic was set up by Dr. Bea Andersen – Schipper, Director of Mount Elgon Orchards. For 10 years the clinic was operating from a residential house on the farm. During this period the main external donor was the Foundation SOK from the Netherlands. With the help of the DEG (the German Development Bank) Mount Elgon Orchards was able to build a new health facility in 2007. The new facility is well equipped and fulfills a regional function. Since that moment the name of the hospital became Andersen Medical Centre. In 2010 the hospital has been accredited by the National Hospital Insurance Fund. The hospital offers the following services:
People come from far to visit the hospital, it is normal to walk for one or two hours to reach there. Some people come from Kitale, 40 kilometers away, because they have heard Andersen Medical Centre is a very good hospital. Dr. Bea Andersen – Schipper tells us why it is such a good hospital:
If we cannot solve the medical problems in our clinic we will send the patients to other hospitals. In Kitale there is a number of specialists, such as a pediatrician, internist, surgeon, gynecologist, otolaryngologist and an ophthalmologist. If we need other specialists, the patient will go to Eldoret (100km) where there is the neurologist, orthopedist, neurosurgeon and cardiologist.
Some figures for Andersen Medical Centre:
The VCT building
A local woman who is getting knowledge about HIV
Some figures, at the moment for the HIV/Aids Centre:
Andersen VCT has its own building and staff, but is officially a part of Andersen Medical Centre. Mount Elgon Orchards is located close to the epicentre of the start of the Aids epidemic. From the screening of blood donors during the periode from 2000 till 2005 it became clear that about 11% of the population was infected with HIV.
Since 1998 the farm has made an effort to try and develop more awareness among the people and thus reduce the stigma. This proved very difficult until in 2005 when the anti-retroviral drugs became available at much lower cost. Suddenly the hope for treatment outweighed the fear of stigma and people starting coming forward. At that time we launched the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centre (VCT). The VCT does the following things:
The VCT is networking with all stakeholders involved: NGO’s, Ministry of Health, people living with HIV, community leaders and Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Health is providing the following supplies: ARV drugs, TB drugs, STI drugs, test kits, mosquito nets and condoms.
In Kitale town the Trust had established an orthopedic workshop where Stephen Sweta, the orthopedic technician, made appliances for disabled people. The clients often have disabilities like artificial limps, polio boots, braces, crutches etc. The orthopedic technician have an outreach program to find new cases of disabled people in the villages. He links up with other organizations and offers his services. It is the only functioning project of its kind in the Northern Rift Valley province. The workshop also selects people who are eligible for operations at the Kijabe Hospital near Nairobi and Nyabondo Hospital near Kisumu. The Trust will assist with operation costs. A new Orthopedic Workshop was been built next to Andersen Medical Centre in 2013. It is now more efficient for Stephen to serve the patients from within.