COMMUNITY HEALTH AFRICA TRUST

To mitigate suffering and poverty through integrated mobile health services providing education and provision of reproductive health, immunization, basic curative and education on the dangers of female genital mutilation
Jan 20, 2015

Happy 2015!

Dear Donors.

 

Happy 2015 to all of you! Below are a few excerpts from our Director's year-end notes. We have received some good news, had some harrowing rock climbing accounts in the field, entered into some new territories, and will hopefully be sending the beloved camels out on a trek very soon! Please take a read below to get a taste of what life on the ground in Kenya has been like over the past few months:

 

ACCESS TO COMMODITIES:

We were given the most amazing surprise in November when, after months of trying to get at some longer term family planning (fp) commodities sitting in the government stores, the Kenyan government released approximately 15 million KSH worth (!!!) of the longer term fp implant method commodities to CHAT for us to distribute. This will be able to help 18,000 women to protect themselves for 3 years against unwanted pregnancies. This is great news in light of the below facts:

  • Studies have shown that Kenya has one of the highest unskilled abortion rate in the world!? And though we don’t know the rate for infanticide, from our experience we know this must be very high too!
  • Currently, approximately 225 million women in developing countries want to avoid pregnancies, but are not using modern contraceptives.
  • Poor maternal health and HIV/AIDS are the two most common causes of death for women of reproductive age- and a key factor is lack of use of appropriate contraception!!

 

ACCOUNTS FROM THE FIELD:

Recently, the CHAT team traversed breathtakingly beautiful scenery while providing fp services to underserved, poor communities in Nyandarua (central Kenya - a 1st time visit to this part of Kenya for CHAT).

We used our motor mobile and backpack strategies to reach these ‘forgotten’ communities who live on the steep slopes and valleys west of the Aberdare forests. Here, in the sheer heights of South Kinankob, CHAT’s backpacking nurse, Pauline, suffered severe ‘sense of humor failure’ whilst clambering, puffing & gasping her way up agonizing seemingly 90% incline slopes to reach her fp clients! With her was Volunteer, Jorien, from Holland, and she was also being assisted by enthusiastic howls of laughter and general glee from Peter pushing ‘Her Hardship’ from behind (Peter is CHAT’s intrepid jack of all trades’ (driver/mobiliser/clerk).

Meanwhile, Mrs. Pauline Lokipi strode ahead providing her door-to-door fp/ecological sensitization services to hundreds of clients who then patiently awaited our other Nurse Pauline, “Her Hardship,” to catch up and insert mostly the longer-term contraception to those clients that chose this method.

Rose, CHAT’s project officer, and I missed out on this ‘hilarious excursion’ (depending on, of course, whose points of view you listen to!!) as we motored beyond to meet villagers around Kieni Forest. Rose did what she does best talking and sharing much needed fp & ecological awareness information with men of all ages – enormous amounts of noise accompany these meetings with much hilarity and clapping from the audience- & Rose!

CHAT’s door to door fp mobilization will continue for another 2 months in Nyadarua, being provided by local family planning community own resource persons (FPCORPs) & local nurses whom CHAT & the Ministry of Health identified. We will have been able to afford to avail free implants to at least 2,800 women in this County by the end of February. Over 900 women have chosen the implant method as of mid December already.

Our backpack strategy also continues in the slums of Nanyuki, Maralal & Isiolo, the poor communities surrounding the flower farms on the slopes of Mt Kenya, in and around the Karissia Mountains in Samburu, and numerous mobile communities throughout Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo & parts Meru and Nyeri.

 

DID YOU KNOW:

  • Kenya’s population growth still remains one of the highest in the world and, currently, approximately 45% of the population lives below the poverty line (US $1 per day). (I personally think this is a MUCH higher percentage - In some communities where CHAT provides services, up to +90% are living below the poverty line).
  • In the last 2 – 3 years, over 85% of CHAT fp clients chose the longer term contraception protection (3 – 5 yrs), often accompanied by husbands, sons, brothers and boy friends who escorted the women to the services.

 

CAMEL MOBILE PLANS:

We had plans to send a camel mobile out for a month starting mid November, to an area ‘forgotten and remote’- along the county boundaries of West Laikipia with Baringo County; peopled by traditional Pokot and Tugen cultures. But, we were asked by the community and government leaders to delay this, due to insecurity in the region (security forces moved in to search for carjackers). This is now scheduled to go out mid January for a month.

 

OTHER PLANS:

From January to March CHAT will be up in Laisamis District in northern Kenya providing integrated health services targeting poor communities and the trucking route which is delivering to the construction of what, in 3 years time, will be the worlds largest wind farm – above the shores of southeast Lake Turkana.

 

We look forward to keeping you abreast of the goings on over the next few months. In the meantime, a very happy and healthy start to 2015 to all of you, from all of us, at CHAT.

 

Asante Sana!

 

CHAT

Oct 13, 2014

Business As Usual

Wheels that won
Wheels that won't quit.

Dear Donors,

Jambo from Nanyuki- the CHAT headquarters in Kenya. Life has been ticking along, and the wheels of the yellow mobile clinic continue to roll along the plains of Laikipia and Samburu, stopping to set up clinic under the shade of an acacia tree each day. Please see the attached chart, summarizing targets reached over the last three months, made possible by the support of Global Giving donors and other contributors.

Though funds have been steady enough to send out our 4X4 mobile clinic, our camel clinic has been unable to make its month long journey for the last 6 months. Costs associated with sending out the camels and crew are higher than those associated with the 4x4 vehicle. Because of this, we are endeavoring to offer more creative funding options. A company sponsorship is a wonderful and exciting opportunity to give back and involve your business and team in an exciting and unforgettable adventure, and maybe even send one or two representatives on an exciting trip of a lifetime, to document the journey.

We thank you for your continued support and will be in touch again in a few months time.

Asante Sana.

The team at CHAT.

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 9, 2014

Facing Reality Here in Kenya

Rita (an Alias) of Northern Kenya
Rita (an Alias) of Northern Kenya

"Access to family planning could reduce maternal deaths by 25 to 40 percent and child deaths by as much as 20 percent." World Bank, 2009

Rita (an Alias) of Nothern Kenya

For public platforms use Rita (an Alias) of Northern Kenya

Rita is only 14 years old. She came to our clinic late at night to get the 5-year contraception implant inserted into her arm. Not surprisingly, Rita's mother brought her to our clinic in secret.  Neither wanted Rita's father to know that she was getting birth control. While with us, Rita shared that she wanted the implant because in the last six months she has had two abortions. Both abortions were conducted in the bush, in secret, by an unlicensed/untrained community member. She did not want to talk about the process that she endured, only to say that it was "horrible" and that she didn’t want to do it again.  She viewed CHAT's mobile health clinic as her only hope to avoid another pregnancy.

By way of background, Rita is sexually active with one boyfriend. Unfortunatley, it is still part of the Samburu tradition that if a young warrior gives a girl red beads, he is considered her "boyfriend, and as such, entitled to engage in sexual relations with her whenever he pleases. This sexual activity is conducted with the parents’ consent. However, it is very common for the warriors to have more than one "girlfriend".  What is difficult for Rita is that in the Samburu culture, it is considered taboo for a warrior to marry his "girlfriend."  Tradition will only allow her warrior boyfriend to use her sexually until he is ready to marry.  Once ready, the warrior will then go in search for a woman suitable to be his wife.  

Needless to say, this cultural phenomenon poses a huge problem for young Samburu girls.  Through exposure to unsafe sex with men who have many sexual partners, girls like Rita are forced to put themselves at risk of contracting devastating sexually transmitted infections/diseases--up to and including HIV/AIDS.  But perhaps even more worryingly, if a girl in this tradition accidentally gets pregnant, and has a child out of wedlock, she will not be able to marry at all in her lifetime.  Sadly, this cultural reality results  in a very high rate of abortions in young Samburu girls--most of whom are carried out in secret and performed under brutal conditions by an unlicensed/untrained community member.

Your generous donation can help reduce these unwanted pregnancies by providing much needed Family Planning options to many more women in Kenya!  Please donate today to help these women make a better life for themselves! 

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