Melton soldier Judith fights ailments in Kenya

Major Judith Pashley 'PHOTO: Corporal Luisa Scott RLC
Major Judith Pashley 'PHOTO: Corporal Luisa Scott RLC
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A Melton army medic has returned home from Africa where she spent six weeks delivering and teaching healthcare to people in remote areas of Kenya.

Major Judith Pashley (50), was one of 25 reserves from 2 Medical Regiment, based in Leicester, who took part in Exercise Askari Serpent in Kenya providing outreach clinics for remote communities.

The humanitarian exercise was run in co-operation with the Kenyan Army and saw Judith working alongside members of Kenya’s own Defence Medical Services.

By the end of the trip the army medics had held health outreach clinics in 15 separate locations across three counties, Isiolo, Laikipia and Samburu. Each clinic lasted two to four days and saw the medics travel up to 200km to each location, across an area measuring 400km x 200km.

Judith’s day started at dawn and finished when the sun went down. Many of the patients she treated had walked for hours across unforgiving terrain to reach a clinic. Some of the ailments treated included diarrhoea, coughs, arthritis and malaria. The exercise saw the medics give medical treatment to over 5000 people.

Major Judith said: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity for the junior soldiers.

“We’ve seen some medical ailments that we wouldn’t necessarily see at home like tuberculosis and malaria and we have seen a few cases that sadly we haven’t been able to help.

“For example, we had a ten-year-old child who was blinded in one eye when she was three-years old. She was brought to the clinic by her parents but sadly due to the length of time that had passed,there was nothing that could be done to restore her sight.”

The Commanding Officer of the Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Graham Johnson, said: “Working in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Kenyan Defence Forces and other non-government organisations we delivered community health care education and health treatment to the rural districts of Kenya.

“It has been a great learning experience but also as a medical provider a really satisfying thing to do.”

Exercise Askari Serpent began around 20 years ago with a vaccination programme and has developed over time to the partnered approach seen today, working with the Kenyan Ministry of Health and, in recent years, with non-government organisations. 3 Medical Regiment will deploy on the exercise in 2017 before 2 Medical Regiment return in 2018.