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Marshall Doctors Take Diabetes Fight to Kenya

Nov. 11, 2016 — November is National Diabetes Month and a time to grow awareness of a disease affecting one in 11 adults worldwide. Two Marshall practitioners recently travelled over 9,500 miles to fight this chronic illness.

Michael Jones, MD and Timna Hughes, MD joined a contingent of physicians this fall in Kenya. The group was sponsored by Roseville-based Maranatha Volunteers International, a non-profit charity affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. While others among the group helped build churches and schools, the doctors provided much-needed diabetic testing supplies and procedures to residents of remote settings.

“Medical care was simply not an option for most people,” Dr. Hughes said. “Patients carried small tattered pieces of paper or booklets which were their only medical chart. Some children and adults were being treated for malaria and HIV, as well as high blood pressure and diabetes.”

The team treated over 1,200 patients over the course of three weeks. They traveled by bus daily from the city of Meru over unpaved roads to one of seven outlying villages. Most were in the desert. Two armed guards accompanied each bus on four-hour round trip. All destinations lacked electricity and running water. Formal medical care there didn’t exist.

A supply truck brought tents to shield the makeshift clinic, which consisted of plastic chairs and tables. After waiting between four and six hours to be seen, residents had their blood pressure and blood glucose levels checked. Supplies included test strips and glucometers supplied by Marshall’s diabetes educators. Physicians dispensed two-week supplies of oral medications to treat diabetes.

Both physicians had previously travelled overseas to provide medical care. While Dr. Hughes’ such experience occurred in Micronesia, she said this visit was especially revealing.

“I will always remember the enthusiasm of the patients we saw,” she said. “I would hope to inspire my patients to be that excited to take care of themselves.”

Marshall is an independent, nonprofit community healthcare provider located in the heart of the Sierra Foothills. Marshall includes Marshall Hospital, a fully accredited acute care facility with 113 beds in Placerville; several outpatient facilities in Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills and Georgetown; and many community health and education programs. Marshall has more than 200 boardcertified physicians and 1,500 employees providing quality healthcare services to more than 180,000 residents of El Dorado County.