Lisa Kent Trust Medical Fund
Lisa Kent Trust (LKT) established a Medical Fund following a Voluntourism visit by Sally Gadsby.
As a Speech and Language Specialist her skills were utilised by the Trust during her visit to The Gambia & our schools, to check the pupils’ ears & their hearing.
These simple health checks highlighted a number of hearing difficulties, many which were easily remedied and also identified issues which were affecting pupil’s abilities to learn and reasons why some pupils were struggling in class.
The exercise also drew to the Trusts attention other factors which were affecting pupils’ attendance at school & health issues. As a result the LKT Medical Fund was established to promote health awareness, and to fund any medication or operations which their parents would otherwise not be able to afford.
In The Gambia, although there is often access to reasonable medical facilities, due to the generally low level of education of the population there is still a demand and frequent use of the traditional remedies as provided by the local ‘witch doctor’. As a result LKT has needed to work closely with the local communities and parents to gain their trust and educate them to support the general wellbeing of their offspring.
LKT has already been able to transform the lives of a number of children with simple but life changing operations which in the UK we would take for granted:-
A seven year old boy suffered from a ‘closed’ eye, leaving him only sighted in one eye. A simple operation at a local clinic under local anaesthetic has provided him with sight in both eyes. His resultant work at school has improved & his opportunities are greatly enhanced.
A nine year old girl suffered from regular fits, regularly having 10 a day, and frequently at school in a classroom of pupils. Teachers were having to learn to deal with fits & seizures, which was frightening the other pupils. LKT was able to arrange investigative X-rays, following which she was prescribed medication. In the following month she had only one fit. She now has a regular check up to review the medication & ensure her condition remains stable. Without the support of LKT her family could not afford the transport to the clinic, let alone the hospital fees or cost of ongoing medication.
Another recent intake saw the arrival in class of a little girl with an umbilical hernia. Although only 3 at the time the hernia was the size of a grapefruit and something she had lived with all her short life. In the UK this would have been operated on as a matter of course, but in The Gambia the parents could not afford such an operation. LKT arranged for her to be referred to the main state hospital in Banjul, but twice the operation was cancelled at the last minute as no anaesthetic was available. This was causing the little girl & the family undue stress & anxiety. As a result we arranged the operation at a Private Clinic, at a cost equivalent to an average Gambian earnings for two years. This has transformed the little girl to a very confident pupil, excited to learn & a pleasure to teach.
Following on from the success of the hearing programme The Lisa Kent Trust will be working with Sight Savers International, checking all the students eyes. This will be a fantastic ongoing programme to ensure all children receive the correct treatment, making sure that their eye sight receives the best possible care.
These are the extreme examples behind the scene LKT promotes a high level of personal hygiene to the pupils and the fund supports the resolution of many minor ailments enabling the pupils to make the most of the education opportunity provided by LKT.
The Trust hold fundraising events throughout the year which are specifically for our medical fund.