History of the Clinic
In 2003, Friends of Buburi founder, Jo Hanks, went to Buburi as part of a team of volunteers to build a health centre. The building was completed but never opened as a clinic. So in 2005 Jo returned to Buburi and took on the challenge of turning the unused building into a community health centre that would provide accessible, reliable and affordable health care to more than 10,000 people.
With the support of St Mary’s Hospital and Isle of Wight GP Surgeries, Jo took more than 200kg of vital supplies to Buburi to enable the health centre to start seeing patients. As an opening celebration, the centre ran a free clinic day, treating more than 270 patients. There were no funds to provide salaries to the nursing staff, but clinics continued daily thanks to their hard work and dedication.
In November 2006, Jo returned to Buburi, accompanied by Dr Ian Johnson (Consultant in Palliative care), Dr David McMullen (GP) and Sara Gunter (Nurse Practitioner). As well as providing essential drugs and medication for the centre, the team spent three weeks working closely with the nurses, providing practical teaching and training. The team also visited local hospitals and Government clinics to gain a deeper understanding of health care in Kenya and the difficulties the local people faced.
In 2007, through fundraising and sponsorship, Jo was able to commit to funding the nurse’s salaries.
Back in the UK, Jo enrolled on the Diploma of Tropical Nursing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she met fellow nurses Noreen Collins and Sallie Buck. After becoming inspired by Jo and her plans for the Health Centre, Noreen and Sallie joined the Friends of Buburi cause, later joined by Jo’s sister Joy in 2010.
With a dedicated team of trustees in the UK and a flourishing nursing team in Kenya, Friends of Buburi was formed, gaining charity status in December 2010.