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Extending a healing reach to Kenya

The Central Africa Medical Mission (CAMM) has had a presence in Africa for more than 60 years—bringing health care and the gospel to the people of Zambia and Malawi. Altogether, the permanent, national-run clinics in those countries see about 70,000 patients each year.

This year, CAMM—in partnership with the One Africa Team, WELS Christian Aid and Relief, and the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ–Kenya (LCMC)—had the opportunity to expand its reach by bringing a short-term medical camp to a village in Kirinyaga County, Kenya.

Kenya taking blood pressure
During the medical camp in Kenya, patients received free routine health screenings, including blood pressure checks and glucose tests.

The planning began three years ago, when Mark Onunda, LCMC chairman, approached the One Africa Team and CAMM with a proposal. He felt that a short-term medical camp in Kenya would not only provide vital medical care to people in the community but help grow the church in Kenya as well. The CAMM stateside committee prayerfully agreed.

“Short-term medical camps, which last about a week, are common in Kenya and are used by church organizations to bring people to church properties where they are given physical and spiritual care,” explains Gary Evans, CAMM’s stateside field director. “The local government and health care agencies support these camps as they are a means of health screening to populations who might otherwise have no access to health care.” Evans traveled to Kenya multiple times prior to the medical camp to touch base with church and county leaders, ensuring they had the essential pieces in place.

In February, six volunteers from CAMM arrived in Kenya to help run the camp. They spent the first four days sorting and organizing medications, setting up the camp, and meeting with government staff. The volunteers also had the opportunity to attend church, meet church leaders, and receive communion.

Kenya medical camps
Patients wait outside tents during a short-term medical camp in Kenya.

Over the course of the next four days, approximately 1,500 patients came through the medical camp, which was staffed by CAMM volunteers, LCMC church members, and county healthcare workers. Angela Sievert, CAMM’s chairperson who also helped at the camp, says, “We did blood pressures, health screenings, BMIs, glucose tests—everything. We actually saw a lot of elderly people, which is quite different from Malawi and Zambia, where we tend to see a lot more children.” There was even a van dedicated to breast and cervical screenings for women, which offered same-day results and treatment.

The people of Kirinyaga County were grateful to receive free health screenings, medications, referrals, health education, and a sense of community. More than that, however, LCMC church elders and pastors worked tirelessly to meet their spiritual needs, connecting with each person individually or in a small group to ask them about their faith and their church home as well as simply to develop a relationship. Sievert states, “While [the church] doesn’t really have a database, they did make connections with people—where they live, what village they’re from—and invited them all to church.”

CAMM is continuing to consider how it can use short-term medical camps to expand its reach to even more patients in Kenya and beyond.

Watch a Together video update interview with Angela Sievert following the trip.

Read more about the Central Africa Medical Mission and its future plans at

Featured image at the top pictures members of the stateside committee for the Central Africa Medical Mission who traveled to Kenya in February to staff the medical camp along with some members of the local church who also volunteered at the camp.

Author: FIC
Volume: 111, Number 05
Issue: May 2024

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