When the going gets tough the tough get going!

We all bemoan the amount of admin in our working lives, I realise now that we work in relative administrative utopia compared to the Kenyans. Everyday register upon register is compiled about every patient.


Quite right you may say but after each patient a clinician will have to fill in more than one register, possibly more than two depending on the reason that the patient has attended for. Each register requires a host of facts that need to be duplicated every time and all completed by hand. These are Ministry of Health documents and requirements. The data needs to be collected daily by clinic staff and collated every 3 months by OGRA staff, requiring 4-5 people attending the surgery to manually collate this. This takes a least a working week each time in the 26 facilities OGRA support. If I ever complain about admin again, do me a favour and remind me about what I have written here today!

Having become quite a whizz with the requirements and documentation around HIV testing, last week I offered to visit all the OGRA supported facilities as part of the data collection team for the quarterly reporting. A challenging week for reasons I hadn’t quite anticipated.

It’s not just the UK experiencing changing weather patterns. September is usually a dry month in – Kenya and the short rains usually come in October- November. Not so this year.


The rains have come early and the roads have become quite a challenge. Day 1 we were fortunate to have the men working on the sugar cane farms looking out for us. Shouting and frantic waving of arms alerted us to some sort of a problem on the road ahead. Having got out to walk to the facility and seeing what was around the next bend ensured unending gratitude to the locals


Later in the week we were not quite so lucky!


Thankfully when the going got tough the tough get going and with some assistance from the local village we eventually got out. It took a couple of hours but as I’ve mentioned before, time is not an issue in Kenya! We were soon surrounded by children


I’m really not sure where they appeared from but we certainly made there day and they were very helpful in collecting stones to act as ballast with Jacob acting as the pied piper and having discarded his shirt to keep it clean!


Once on terra firma we made the sensible decision to walk to Olasi, the town we were headed for.


Not the biggest town I’ve ever come across!!


We eventually arrive at the clinic 3 hours late but all in one piece and some very happy faces to greet the very muddy “muzungu”


All in the name of data!!



  1. Each time I read your posts I add something else I shouldnt moan about….the weather being one of them! Still moving forward despite everything – great stuff and heartening to read!
    Maddy x

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