Dr. Richard Nkambi says people ask him why he gave up a position as director of Orkesmet Lutheran Hospital, where he managed a staff of 100, to lead the small but growing clinic at Olmoti. With 32 years of experience as a doctor and 15 as head of Orkesmet, the new medical director says he liked his previous job, but the great needs of the Maasai and the proven sustainability of the Olmoti Clinic drew him to the bush.“They need our services so much," he states. "They are starting at the very bottom. I feel I am helping people who really, really need me.”
The people of Olmoti have responded by flocking to the clinic for his care, for conditions ranging from conjunctivitis and typhoid to malaria and respiratory ailments, as well as vision, maternal, child and basic medical needs. Dr. Nkambi, who in recent years has regularly visited to provide eye care at Olmoti, brings added stature and expertise to our team. He has quickly become a friend and counselor as well as a medical provider to patients at the clinic.
Nkambi believes that he has an advantage at Olmoti because he is Maasai himself and can speak to the local people in their native tongue. "If you can communicate in their language, you can go deeper. You see that they feel better because you are talking to them and understanding them," he says. And that includes counseling the patients about a range of issues that can affect their lives and well-being for the better.
“Most of the time, I have to counsel,” he says. “Health is about education, and that is why I’m here.” His counsel ranges from addressing environmental conditions at home to the importance of educating children and joining the national health insurance program.