Fellowship Helps Gearhart Improve Healthcare in Kenya
Every year, the Alumnae Association awards a small number of fellowships to Mount Holyoke graduates thanks to generous donations from alumnae. This year the Alumnae Association granted Rebecca K. Gearhart '89 the 1905 Fellowship to help fund the building of a malaria-screening lab under the leadership of her organization, the Lamu Center of Preventative Health (LCPH). Thanks to the fellowship, LCPH was able to build and open the lab, buy the necessary equipment and medical supplies for testing, and pay the salaries for lab technicians.
Since the opening of the lab in July, the clinic has screened an average of one hundred patients per month, and more than 500 patients in total, for malaria. These successful free screenings have helped the on-site clinic’s nurse practitioner improve overall patient care, prescribing anti-malarial drugs to those with the disease in addition to ruling out the disease as a cause of sickness in those malaria-negative. By ruling out malaria in ill patients, LCPH avoids exposing them to the negative side effects of anti-malarial drugs, and is able to treat them for the illness they actually have. Thanks to the new lab, the clinic can also offer other free screening services such as those for HIV/AIDS, typhoid, arthritic disorders, hepatitis, UTI, and H phlori.
Gearhart currently serves as an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois Wesleyan and the secretary of the board of the Lamu Center of Preventative Health. For more information about the great work Rebecca and her organization do, check out their website here.