Thursday, January 24, 2008
Impact of Post-Election Crisis on HealthRight International Projects
The violence and unrest that erupted in Kenya following the disputed presidential election in December has left hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced. The situation has spurred many to flee into neighboring countries or other parts of Kenya, and has disrupted the delivery of many basic services and activities. Domestic travel in many regions has also been restricted, with roads blocked either by armed gangs or security forces.
HealthRight International (formerly Doctors of the World-USA) operates two major projects in the North Rift Valley Province of Kenya: an HIV treatment program and a maternal and neonatal health initiative. We are in daily contact with our staff in Kenya, all of whom are safe, and who report that the West Pokot District has been comparatively calm. However, significant violence and disruption in other parts of the province and in and around the town of Eldoret – a 2 hour drive from the clinic we support in Kapenguria and the home base of AMPATH, one of our key operational partners – has interrupted many of our project activities.
The HealthRight office and the health facilities we support remain open, and HealthRight staff and partners are working to ensure patients continue to receive services. However, many clients have been unable to access services due to transportation disruptions and safety concerns, and staff are unable to travel to unsafe areas. Training activities are also being rescheduled based on the evolving situation.
HealthRight continues to monitor the situation and we remain deeply concerned for the well-being of our clients, particularly patients being treated for TB and HIV/AIDS who are unable to access medication. We are working closely with our partners to restore any interrupted services as soon as we can safely do so. While HealthRight is not equipped to participate in refugee assistance programs, we will of course help in anyway possible.
HealthRight remains hopeful that international and domestic efforts to bring the disputing factions into negotiations will result in a peaceful resolution to the current crisis.