Volunteer Doctor Conducts HIV Screening

HIV specialist Dr. Joe Caperna.

HIV specialist Dr. Joe Caperna.

 

The Olmoti community and surrounding villages received a vital new medical service this summer, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Joe Caperna, an HIV specialist from San Diego. Visiting the region through Olmoti Clinic's arrangements, Dr. Caperna engaged a highly receptive community in a once-taboo subject: HIV-AIDS. The doctor conducted 10 days of educational outreach and testing.

He tested hundreds of people and we were happy to find just small incidence of the disease: Of 743 men, women and children tested, Dr. Caperna found six HIV cases, an encouraging result at less than 1 percent of the population.

During the educational presentations, the Maasai asked many questions about prevention, treatment and consequences for sex and reproduction. It is difficult to overstate the magnitude of this milestone – bringing these topics into the open – for the health of the community. Now the Maasai in this region are prepared to decrease the stigma and take advantage of prevention and treatment advances for an HIV-free environment.

A Village Center Emerges

Aerial view of the new Health Center

Aerial view of the new Health Center

 
 

The construction of our new Health Center, with surgery facilities and wards, has been truly exciting, and an aerial view shows just how dramatically our work has changed Olmoti. Where once there was only windswept scrub, a village center has emerged. The community uses our school and clinic for meetings and organizing as well as for health needs and to educate 240 children!

The photo shows the three new buildings (under construction in this photo, but completed since) and our Olmoti clinic forming a quad in the foreground. In the background are the medical staff housing, doctor's house, teachers' housing, and on the far right our primary school!