DNP Chair and Students Bring Care to Kenyans

In the slums of Nairobi in Kenya’s Mathare Valley, people struggle to survive on about $1 a day, making health care a luxury.

Dr. Lori in a Kenyan classroom with students.
Dr. Lori Irelan (in teal scrubs) in a Kenyan classroom with students.

Dr. Lori Irelan, regional chair of Wilmington University’s DNP program, and two DNP students brought potentially lifesaving care to Kenyans, volunteering at clinics and schools for 12 days last summer on a Foundation for Peace medical mission trip.

Dr. Irelan and the students, Kim Beddow and Sarah Robinson, visited shut-in HIV patients, bringing them care and groceries. They also helped set up a clinic, where they and other volunteers served 2,000 people in two days.

“We had kids with broken bones that we gave $3 and sent off on a bicycle to go and get an X-ray and bring it back to us,” Dr. Irelan recalls. “We dewormed everyone we came in contact with because there are so many parasites in that environment.”

At a health seminar for 300 people from churches and schools, they taught HIV prevention and emergency skills, including CPR and dressing wounds. They also connected about 100 children with eyeglasses and another 100 with dental care.

Sadly, they saw patients who were beyond help, including a 10-year-old girl with an untreated kidney disorder.

“In the United States, she would have been treated promptly and soon be good as new. But she died that night,” Dr. Irelan says.

She plans to continue her volunteer work, leading 12 WilmU students on a trip to the Dominican Republic in November.