In every student’s course work, community service is considered crucial as it gives the student a clearer picture of the outside world. Community service calls for volunteer works where we help those who need help for example homes for the aged, children homes, hospitals and schools in slums. Participating in community service not only makes a difference to the organization and people being served, but also makes a difference to every student’s career prospects. Participating in community service activities helps to enhance student resumes by allowing students to obtain work-related skills prior to graduation, builds good references for employers in regards to community involvement, and provides a forum to network with future potential employers. It also helps students develop civic and social responsibility skills and become more aware of what their community needs. This research will be emphasizing on the background of the study, experiences learnt and the feelings as well. The paper will also address the activities, academic analysis, incidents and the recommendations before concluding.
St Scholastica Uzima hospital is situated off Thika superhighway survey of Kenya, adjacent to Mathare slums. The hospital is in Ruaraka subcounty, Utalii Ward within Utalii village. St Scholastica Uzima Hospital is a Faith Based health organization established by the Missionary Benedictine Sisters. The hospital was established in 1983 as Uzima dispensary. This was three years after the arrival of the Missionary sisters from Germany. The founding sisters saw the need to set up the institution since there was no medical facility within the slums. They also noted the deplorable conditions within the slums hence they decided to set up a health facility that the slum dweller would comfortably afford. Around this same period there was an influx of water borne diseases due to poor sanitation and drainage systems were non-existent. It is also around this period that the first small Rwanda genocide happened and there were refugees. This means the area was overpopulated. The missionary sisters tried to help the affected through social works after they erected the convent in Ruaraka. This came with its challenges. One of the greatest challenges was that they needed funds. The sick needed drugs, mosquito nets, water guard to make water safe for consumption, dig wells and trenches to drain stagnant water around homes.
The headquarters in Germany responded by giving them necessary funding and also funds to build a dispensary around the slums. This was the birth of St Scholastica Uzima Hospital. The choice of hospital name was not just a random thought. Uzima stands for complete, mature and fully developed. They aimed at a complete service, not just give medical attention but also give dignity to those who had been alienated due to various ailments.
The hospital has grown from a dispensary with only 4 staff to 70 permanent staff. Currently the institution is in the process of constructing a medical theater and a 50bed maternity wing. The hospital has also set up a school where annually they adopt ten kids and give them a home, better life, educate them in the institution and also finance their higher education.
First Impression of the Site
My community service commenced on the 8th of May unsure of what to expect but very optimistic. I was warmly welcomed by the guards upon arrival. I arrived at 8am and 10 minutes later the staff went for their daily catholic mass and they requested me join despite being a stranger. The institution being headed by the Benedictine sisters, the pictures of the Pope, the head sisters and the babies delivered in the institution are well displayed in the facility.
During the first week,I was oriented to the institution. I was trained to do hospital chores starting with the maternity which was my first destination. I was taught on the different chemicals used while cleaning, where to use them and how to use them. I was also taken through the schedule in the hospital. Time keeping was a skill I had to master and observe. Hygiene was also emphasized mainly because I was handling patients and newborns. Despite the first impression that the task being hard and extremely exhausting I came to love the tasks and since then I haven’t missed not even a single day. With time I blended in and I mastered my duties well and the patients could ask questions and I would be of help. I made friends in the institution which made my stay more and more interesting. I was no longer lonely I would work extra hours at ease. It was interesting to note that despitedoing some of these tasks at home, the hospital had its own unique way of doing these tasks.
I have learnt that happiness is a choice. Despite being weak post birth post birth the mother often forget their pain and look at the brighter side that is the baby. I have also learnt to appreciate the little that I have. I have learnt to appreciate everythingin life and not to take anything for granted. Community service has helped me manage my time better. Working in a hospital means punctuality ie when to give medicine, give food, change diapers and change catheters. Volunteering has helped get experience in my area of interest. Being a marketing minor, it has given me the opportunity to practice important skills such as team work, communication, problem solving, task management and other useful skill that are important in the job market today.
Visiting St Scholastica Uzima Hospital was scheduled for three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday where I offered my services in different departments of the hospital ranging from the maternity, laboratory,child welfare clinic, the pharmacy and the casualty and procedure room.
In the maternity I mopped, washed the utensils, dump dusted and disinfected the surfaces, served porridge at 10,changed the beddings, incase there was a delivery I was expected to be the labor ward being the doctors aid, cut and arrange gauze, help mothers with anything they needed, clean window and teach and help mothers change diapers of the newborn.
In the laboratory I had to label slides and urine bottles, mop in the morning, fill in results manually and electronically, give back results to patients and collect every day stock from the pharmacy and give a report. In the pharmacy I packed meds, give instructions to patients on how to take the meds and take stock and give it back to the sister in charge.
In the casualty and procedure room I helped the head nurse clean and dress wounds, disinfect the affected areas. The head nurse also conducted cervical cancer screening where I helped him prepare the lady and make sure she is comfortable before conducting the procedure. In the child welfare clinicI collected information from the mothers who brought the kids for immunization, weighed the child, check on development of teeth to those teething. I also advised mothers on how to introduce the kids to solid food, how to soothe the baby’s gum while teething.
June 14th was one sad day in the facility. We were conducting a normal delivery to a first-time mom, but unfortunately the baby passed on 15 minutes after birth this was after the baby experienced breathing difficulties. This was a hard for me because it was the first birth I had experienced in the hospital that had gone wrong.
July5th we admitted a mom who was in labor she complained of exhaustion and we gave her something to boost her energy, but when she got in the final stage of labor she was too exhausted and she could not push anymore and the baby’s heartbeat became faint. She was immediately transferred to St Joseph Kasarani for an emergency caesarian section.
One of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. St Scholastica provides affordable health to those who can’t afford facilities such as the Aga khan hospital. The maternity aims at reducing child mortality which is quite rampant especially in slums. They allow for patients to pay with National Hospital Insurance Fund which reduces the financial burden.
St Scholastica also works to ensure wellbeing by reducing neonatal deaths by providing almost free immunization. They hospital gets the vaccines at government stores and administer them on babies to prevent diseases such as polio, hepatitis and tuberculosis.
St Scholastica aims at helping curb the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases. This is by conducting outreach every two months and educating the masses on how to protect themselves, giving medication to malaria and waterborne diseases patients and help improve living conditions of those affected. The hospital also gives mosquito nets to every mother after giving birth. The hospital has a Comprehensive Care Centre section where they offer free medicine to those suffering to tuberculosis and also give ARVs.
During my service at the institution, I have realized the labor ward need new and modern delivering beds. The beds they are currently using were purchased when the institution added a maternity wing in 2001. They are uncomfortable for the mothers and also in case of a tear during birth they can’t wheel the mother back to the ward because the bed has no wheels.
The institution being a hospital, there are expectation on level of hygiene. The loo at the hospital include a toilet seat. This makes its hard for visitors to use the toilet comfortably due to the risk of getting infections. Also, there are no toilet seat disinfectants to make the patients a bit comfortably.
The UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals advocates for the inclusion of marginalized and disadvantaged. The hospital has an upper flow but have not included a ramp or a lift for the disadvantaged. When a differently abled patient visits the institution, they have to be carried on the back by their guardian or staff in the hospital. I recommend adding a facility that will help the differently abled access the hospital with ease.
Community service was such an eye opener. I have realized there are so many things I take for granted, starting from good health to a successful delivery that is not always guaranteed. I believe everyone should indulge in community service and comfort with those suffering. Community service has helped shape and develop interpersonal skills and have compassion when dealing with people.