Four years ago, when I was asked by AIC Litein Hospital to start a clinic to deal with mental health, I had no idea how much it would grow. We named the clinic “Tumaini” (the Swahili word for “hope”) in order to reduce any potential stigma or barriers that would prevent people from coming. We started with just 3 patients — I wondered if it would fizzle out or keep growing. But grow it did! Demand increased to the point where we could no longer see patients one day a week or just with one provider.
We are so thankful for the team that Dr. Andy White put together to help advise the hospital on how to move forward in our efforts in caring for people with mental illness and for Dr. Elijah Terer’s visionary leadership as hospital CEO. Our biggest step so far in this journey has been opening an outpatient clinic that is open 5 days a week to see patients with mental illness; as we have increased our staffing and our availability it has helped us see even more clearly how much need there is for competent, accessible, and compassionate services to deal with mental illness.
We still have a long way to go — we are still strategizing about how we could do community outreach and education, support groups, better addiction services, and even inpatient care, Lord willing. But for now, we are so thankful for everything God has done to bring about this outpatient building.
Below are the speeches that Dr. Terer and I gave on March 10, 2022 when we opened the Nuru ya Tumaini Outpatient Center:
To donate to the work of Nuru ya Tumaini, please click here.
This post was contributed by Matthew Loftus M.D., a member of the advisory team, family physician, husband, and dad. It is cross-posted at https://matthewandmaggie.org/2022/05/14/mental-health-at-aic-litein/