Nestled in the lush landscape of Kipkaren in Eldoret County, Kimbilio Hospice is a lifesaver of sorts for area residents. The inpatient hospice started in 2010 as part of a community based program and shelter for 8 patients. In 2011, a larger hospice was built to cater to more patients, increasing the occupancy to 24.
Like most areas of Kenya, the hospice started off dealing with HIV&AIDS patients but that has now changed to dealing with more cancer patients as the national average increases.
Kimbilio hospice, is part of a non-profit called Living Room Ministries International, is a community organization that serves patients living outside the environs of Eldoret town. They also serve patients from the northern frontier of Kenya with one patient having travelled for over 17 hours to seek services. The services offered at Kimbilio hospice are very much needed by the population of Kipakren, its environs and further beyond.
A staff of 40 work in the hospice, on the farms, kitchen and the funeral home that Living Room Ministries International operates. The funeral home is one of the income generating activities that they carry out to supplement the funds they receive from partners and well wishers. Most patients can barely afford to pay for the hospice and they are never turned away. This, therefore, means that Kimbilio has to source for enough funds to keep the hospice running.
Since it opened, the hospice has served well over 100 patients, and continues to serve many more. “Patients come and they are in a lot of pain. They come and experience acceptance and relief from suffering. Anytime they can do that it’s a success,” says the co-founder Juli McGowan Boit.
The hospice was recently host to their partners from the United States of America; from various hospitals and palliative care units across that country and also from world renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. They were accompanied by a team from Good Shepherd Mission hospital in Swaziland and a doctor from Ethiopia. The teams from Swaziland and Ethiopia were visiting to learn from Kimbilio hospice and see if there is anything they can learn from the institution.
A team from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing was also in tow to propose a new leadership program in Kenya. The same has been well implemented in Romania and as a partner of Kimbilio; they were interested in implementing the same in Kenya.
Kimbilio, which is supported by the Uasin Gishu county government, in terms of staffing of nurses was proposed as the centre of implementation in Kenya. The team at Kimbilio is extremely interested in being part of the leadership program with Juli Boit saying, “We want Kimbilio to be a centre of excellence. We are seeking to expand further so we can accommodate and serve more in and out patient clients. We are also looking at introducing education and research facilities to cater to the area’s palliative care needs.”