AUSTIN - Members from the Dell Children's Comprehensive Epilepsy program will be heading to Kenya to treat hundreds of children living with epilepsy, Friday.
The group says the chronic disease is common in Kenya due to a high number of infections at birth or trauma to the brain during delivery that cause the seizures. Many of the communities have little to no access to specialty care, children are often excluded from going to school or incapable of holding jobs.
“Until you see what other people have faced, you don't really appreciate what we have such easy access to,” nurse practitioner Janet Wilson said. “I’ve seen a child who had gone seven years having seizures without having been evaluated or cared,"
This will be her third time traveling to the country. This year her team of six, four doctors and two nurses, will aim to reach at least 300 children.
They will bring in a pharmacy and provide medications with Kenyan clinics.
The team visits Maai Mahiu, Kenya most often. Dell Children’s have partnered up with the Ubuntu Heal Medical Program to help families get the resources they need. And it’s not just doctors who specialize in epilepsy who attend, they also bring cardiologists and dermatologists on trips.
"It's very obvious when we are there and we are taking care of their epilepsy, we are changing their lives,” Pediatric Hospitalist Valerie Jurgens said.
The group will also offer extensive training, education and year-round support for local doctors, so even after they leave they will continue to get the treatment they need.
“I can't even imagine myself going to anywhere else,” Jurgens said.
The medical team encourages other health care professionals and volunteers to join them on their mission to improve the lives of children and their families.
Click here for more information on Dell Children's Medical Center's program.
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