Gretchen Kehde RN, BSN, has been providing compassionate health care to communities in the US for the past 25 years, and now she is providing her exemplary style of care to our children and families! Gretchen joined TCF’s team last November, and brings the “3 H’s”—Health, Humor, and Hope—to all of the patients at our Rural Community Health Clinic.
Gretchen is passionate about making quality health care accessible to our community, and we are proud to announce that our Health Clinic currently has over 1,449 registered patients! Gretchen treats an average of 21 patients a day, and her cases vary in both the type of patient and the severity. “What I love about the RVCV clinic is being able to work with patients of all ages…our clinic sees everything from womb to tomb.”
Coming from New York, Gretchen was surprised to be treating many of the same illnesses in rural Tanzania that she treated there such as asthma, the flu, gastrointestinal issues, and general wounds. The key difference, however, is that “our community members wait so long to seek care…the problem becomes much bigger than if they had been treated right away. However, I have been able to work with patients over a period of months now, and being able to see patients progress week by week is fantastic.”
One of the qualities that makes Gretchen such an asset to our health clinic is her “contagious” sense of humor, which allows her to connect with patients immediately, making them to feel comfortable and safe in her care. Whether Gretchen is joining kids in roaring like a lion to examine their throats, or making balloons out of rubber gloves to distract little ones during an injection, Gretchen approaches every concern with a smile and a “’hamna shida,’ we can fix this!”
Not only does Gretchen service the day-to-day needs of the clinic, but she also provides mentoring to Tanzania’s next generation of healthcare providers. While home on break from Nursing School, our own Richard Daniel served as Gretchen’s assistant in the clinic, which gave him hands-on training and visibility into the works of a health center. “I learned so much while working with Gretchen,” says Richard. “I was able to treat my first infant—the baby was so small—and I learned how to administer injections, how to register patients, and the importance of keeping well-documented medical records.”
By the end of his break, Richard—who is incredibly dedicated to his studies—was in the health clinic all day, every day, eager to keep learning and soak in everything that he could. Through both Gretchen’s training and his admirable work ethic, Richard is an example of how TCF is working to empower the Tanzania’s next generation of leaders and change-makers.