Today, the 19th day of October, 2018, marked the third day of the JKUSA Health Drive. It punctuated what has been an intensive, productive and healthy three days in the University, both for students and members of staff. The JKUSA Health Drive is a brainchild of Ms. Claire Wahome, a Third Year student of Telecommunication and Information Engineering. She currently serves as the Health, Catering and Accommodation Secretary in the Jomo Kenyatta University Students Association (JKUSA).
When I met Ms. Claire on the night of Tuesday, 16th October, she was running up and down with other students, doing their best to set the stage for the Health Drive that was due to kick off the next day at the University graduation pavilion. Making last minute calls, pondering over logistics, and mostly worrying if all the effort would pay off, through students coming and exploiting the opportunity that the health drive was going to present in just a few hours.
“My main worry is that we haven’t done enough publicity. We still weren’t sure we would have the event, but it’s here now and….” She didn’t get to finish that statement. Some hardworking comrade, one of the students setting up the venue, interrupted us. Her name is Ms. Cardine Ambundo. She urgently needed Claire’s input on the set up. My inquiries on the event could wait. And they did.
Claire’s worries about the attendance came to pass, just not on the negative, but on the extreme positive. The turnout by students for the health drive has been overwhelming and far beyond what they had projected or hoped for. Where they had hoped for an overall turnout of 1000 people for the three days, they recorded more than 1,300 students and staff who came for the health services that were being offered in the first two days alone. Going by the numbers that streamed to the pavilion today, that number is likely to go over the 2000 mark.
The JKUSA Health drive has been a product of a collaborative effort between the JKUSA’s Health, Catering and Accommodation docket and a host of other health organizations to bring to the University community free medical services. The Aga Khan University Hospital, MAC Dental, Gachororo Health Centre, Ryculture limited, Linda Vijana initiative, Cambridge Opticians, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), as well as students drawn from the College of Health Sciences (COHES) all teamed up to give for free what would otherwise be very expensive medical expenses.
From breast and cervical Cancer screening, to diabetes testing, high blood pressure testing, BMI measurement and counsel, sexual reproductive health sensitization, HIV testing and counseling, dental, and optical services, the list goes on and on. Saying that the health drive initiative has been a massive success is not a matter of opinion, but a statement of fact. Still, it would be an understatement, for the impact it has had runs far deeper, and the benefits far much immeasurable.
“You know as the executive members of the student leadership, we are each normally allocated funds to run an event that is of benefit to the students’ welfare. Being the Health, Catering and Accommodation Secretary, I decided that my event would revolve around healthcare services to the students and University community at large.”
That’s what Claire had to say when I inquired on the motivation behind the health drive.
“There’s a lot of ignorance when it comes to matters healthcare. A lot of phobia and stigma too, so I thought bringing these services to the students would make it easier for them to make the right decisions and mind their health and wellbeing,” she added.
As the last day of the health drive drew to a close, the organizers of the event had a comment board where students could give their feedback and express their sentiments about the event. This what some of the comments read…
- Awesome, thoughtful and successful event. Am happy by the services I have gotten.
- Services are just wow. They are amazing, and I think we need this every academic year so first year students can get to learn the risks that they are exposed to before they mess their lives.
- I didn’t know I’m this healthy… Awesome!
- The check-ups were great and helpful. Next time bring in cancer screening for men too!
- Good, credible and precise.
- Good work guys, keep inspiring the youth.
- The check ups were great and very helpful. Next time increase the free HIV testing booths.
- A great way to promote health education. SDG 3!!! Woop woop!
- This should be often. I feel good having known my health status.
- The day was great. Next time bring cancer screening for the boychild too!
- This has been a nice initiative. Amazing. Keep up.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Ngumi, was not left behind either. Together with the University’s top management, she visited the health drive camp on Thursday on her way to the students’ open forum which was taking place in the Assembly Hall.
“This is a very good initiative. I’m impressed and glad that we have a student leadership that minds the welfare of the students. The University management will support such initiatives in every way we can,” she quipped.
Martin Luther King Jr., not speaking at the JKUSA health drive, but many years ago, opined that “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Advancing social change begins with recognizing that we each have the power to serve and lead. This is at the very foundation of what servant leadership stands for. The man behind the term, one Robert Greenleaf, said that servant leadership begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Before anything else. Above anything else. The JKUSA Health drive has been an embodiment of this ideology.
And to the lady who made all this possible, here are her final sentiments…
“I did not expect the turnout we’ve had so far. It has been massive, and I believe this drive has been a success. I hope that this can be an annual event in the least, and that next time it can run for a whole week. I hope that in the next edition, we’ll have more services such as cancer screening for men and ENT services. I have to express my sincerest gratitude to the partnering organizations that have made this possible. A special shout out to Aga Khan University Hospital who really went beyond what we even agreed on to offer some badly needed and expensive services, especially the tests that were being conducted. Cambridge Opticians, for offering students free eye exam and giving a 50% discount on spectacles. I’m also grateful for the massive support from my fellow student leaders, led by the President, Ibrahim Boru Shalle, as well as students from the College of Health Sciences who came in to assist the medical team in dispensing services to the University community.”
JKUSA Health Drive 2018 In Pictures