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
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! 

Mar 4, 2014

Partners in Health

Samburu Women and Children Ceremonial Dance
Samburu Women and Children Ceremonial Dance

Dear Donors,

We hope everyone’s 2014 is getting off to a healthy, and productive start. New years are often filled with a sense of possibility, as dreams or aspirations seem to take on a more tangible form.  Our aspirations of providing accessible and affordable care to the indigenous tribes of Kenya remain, continuing to grow with the demand each year. And in our pursuit, it is always important to be thankful and recognize our partners who help to keep us going.

At the end of January, Impatient Optimists, part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, posted an article on family planning and maternal health- how interconnected the two are and thus the importance of their integration.  Though the focus group of the article is perhaps not the typical CHAT audience, who are of a lower socio-economic status than those the article relates to, the lessons learned from in depth data analyses that were preformed, are similar lessons CHAT has learned along the way.

One ‘lesson’ that came to mind when writing this report, is the absolute importance of consistency in care delivery, availability, and affordability of contraceptives. What is the best to achieve these two necessities? As the article concludes, it is through private and public partnerships that the needs are most effectively met. 

For the past 10 years, CHAT and the Kenyan Ministry of Health have been partners in the goals of contraceptive availability, affordability and education. Together, we have been doing our best to ensure that the communities get what they need. But when the government falls short, and it certainly does at times, it is the private donors, such as you all who are reading this, who afford us the ability to keep our promise to these communities.

So, as we begin another year with you as one of our valued partners, we wanted to say a quick and simple, thank you. Your generosity helps to create a healthier world more than you may realize.  

Let’s make 2014 a good one…!

  

Asante Sana,

 

The Team at CHAT

Links:

Dec 17, 2013

Worthwhile Stocking Stuffer

Dear Donors, 

 One of CHAT's volunteers, who has remained a helpful friend over the years, often writing these GG reports, is moving to Kenya in the New Year. She has crafted an email below about her experiences with CHAT and included a special "ask" for the clinic this Christmas season. Global Giving has afforded CHAT a steady stream of funding through thousands of generous individuals over the years, so we thought to share her email with you, as it gives CHAT the chance to give a little back to all of you. We call it the Worthwhile Stocking Stuffer. Please read the note below to learn more about the opportunity and about this volunteer......

 As many of you know, I am moving to East Africa at the start of the New Year. What first brought me there, three years ago, was a health clinic by the name of Community Health Africa Trust (CHAT). The clinic is based in central Kenya and serves some of the most remote populations of Kenya's Central and Northern highlands. It is a humble, yet highly effective organization, that offers a wide range of services including antenatal care, child immunizations, basic curatives, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, and health education on HIV prevention. But the core focus of its efforts is reproductive health and family planning. 

 It is a truly wonderful organization and one that I have been working closely with from afar these last three years. What I believe is most special about it, and what has made it so successful, in terms of being able to reach the targeted audience, is that it was founded, run, and managed by Kenyans who live in and amongst the people that they serve. 

 And, in a society where women carry the weight of their family and home on their backs, literally, it is quite a powerful feeling to see these ladies line up, one by one, by one, to receive a contraceptive of their choice. This choice gives women some say in planning a family they alone will often care for, when it was always (and often still is) her husband who decided just how many children a woman would carry.

 Amongst many of the tribes in Kenya who the clinic serves,  women will on average have 7 children and child bearing can begin as young as 13 years of age. In Laikipia, where CHAT is headquartered, an estimated 75,000 women want, but do not have access to, family planning.

So, this Holiday Season, I thought I might ask you to dip into your pockets and make a contribution to CHAT and the communities they serve. For any contribution of $100.00 or more, we will send out a simple token of thanks, a worthwhile stocking stuffer, hand beaded by a group of individuals in the Laikipia region of Kenya. 

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