The Kenya Defence Force troops under Operation Linda Boni have rolled out a series of MediCare camps in areas earmarked for the multi-agency security operation. The move by the security forces was prompted by the lack of health facilities following destructive attacks by the Al Shabaab militants said to have intentionally destroyed infrastructure following defiance against the militia by community members.
Expectant mothers and children are the major beneficiaries of the ongoing camps that recently saw hundreds of residents; old and young treated of common ailments. The camps that include follow-up sessions also involve vaccinations on both children and expectant mothers in collaboration with the ministry of health.
Residents of Boni say the catastrophic attacks are to blame for the fleeing of medical practitioners previously based at the community’s health centre and dispensaries. However, residents say availing of medical services by the security officers has helped curb cholera and malaria outbreaks among other communicable diseases that have been common among residents.
Besides availing treatment, security personnel have also gone ahead to provide medicinal support to the dispensaries still in operation as well as those recently set up in areas completely liberated from the militia.
“The medical team from KDF has assisted so much in providing special care for the infants, old men and women who mostly need special attention that we earlier had to trek for hours to find.” Says Maimuna Wakesho, a Lamu resident
According to Wakesho, the community has lost many individuals on transit to seek medical care in the past but the initiative by the KDF has since curbed these deaths. The Lamu native says the number of locals turning to traditional healers has also reduced and locals are more appreciative of modern treatment provided by the forces.
In August 2015, a group of over 100 suspected Al-Shabaab militants invaded the Mangai Dispensary and took drugs, torched and vandalised it completely. The free medical camps are part of other CIMIC activities dedicated towards building back the community that continues to fight Al Shabaab insurgency and violent extremism.