Making young people agents of change delivers impact in rural healthcare
Safari Doctors, a project that began with one nurse on a motorcycle providing healthcare to rural communities, has grown organically into a regional program serving 24 villages across Kenya’s Lamu County.
Founded by Amujae Leader Umra Omar in 2015, Safari Doctors provides innovative, community-driven mobile healthcare solutions to residents of remote villages in Northern Kenya. The program’s mobile clinics provide safe and affordable healthcare, including family planning and childhood vaccinations, to people living in rural areas where access to medical services can be very limited.
“We have been given the privilege and the opportunity to serve,” said Ms. Omar during a recent episode of The Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation’s Social Ideas Podcast. In addition to providing healthcare services, the Safari Doctors program also trains young people—and young women in particular—to become healthcare workers and agents of change in their own communities. Working in collaboration with local governments, Safari Doctors’ success demonstrates the effectiveness of a local, grassroots service as a key healthcare solution, said Ms. Omar:
“We’ve shown how investing in young people as health workers is actually cost effective and has a bigger [impact]. We’re talking of addressing preventative and primary healthcare in real time, and reducing the burden on secondary healthcare facilities.”
On Safari Doctors’ plans to expand further, Ms. Omar said the organization’s next step will be to establish a ‘Center of Excellence’—a brick-and-mortar hub where local young people will be able to receive training and learn the skills needed to become healthcare workers themselves.
You can listen to the full podcast here.