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
Sep 24, 2012

Do It To Believe It

Hey there, this is Daniel Mbachia,

I have just graduated from the University of Nairobi with a BSc microbiology and Biotechnology. I have been volunteering with CHAT since mid-June. Firstly I would like to thank Shanni for giving me a chance and the rest of the team for the warm welcome.

When I first arrived I was coming to help with a solar powered mobile vaccine refrigeration unit where I collected data for field trials. I went out on a camel mobile clinic. How was the experience? Oh I have only this to say, DO IT TO BELIEVE IT! I enjoyed every bit of it, even when I walked bare feet due to blisters; it was just fun and fun. I can very boldly say I have not only seen and know the good of family planning but I have been exposed to the beauty of it all. Just to mention saving school girls from unwanted pregnancies or crude abortions, a mother from the burden of raising a huge family from limited resources and also the health aspect to the women in spacing their children.

 As of now I am helping out with updating our maps to allow most of you out there to have a clue of who we are and where we serve most of the communities from. That is for both motor and camel clinics. I have been marking points, which I will use to come up with the route maps. I have been based in Nanyuki where I am with the rest of the office staff. I have been also helping out with general office work and I am very happy to be among the few people out here trying to make a difference of what we all want to see.


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Jul 24, 2012

Bill and Melinda Gates and the need for Family Planning

A new patient getting family planning information
A new patient getting family planning information

Hello there!

We hope this report finds you well and enjoying summer.

Some exciting news has taken place since our last report that we thought you might enjoy hearing about. The London Summit on Family Planning has just recently raised 4.6 billion in pledges- the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation leading the charge with a pledge of over 1 billion, followed by 2.6 billion from a group of wealthy nations, and 2 billion from developing countries. These monies are estimated to deliver contraceptives to 120 million women by 2020.

As our team at CHAT has been working tirelessly for just over ten years to teach about and give access to safe and affordable birth control, we were very pleased to catch wind of this recent progress and focus. Many women and the communities in which they live, men included, are slowly beginning to trust in the positive aspects of birth control, despite their often strident cultural norms. The demand is there, and as long as funding allows, we will continue to ensure that it is met. Our hope is the promotion of healthy, empowered women and, therefore, healthy babies-the result of access to safe and affordable birth control.

 

Interview by Misha Mintz-Roth while on the CHAT mobile clinic

Sunday, July 1st, 12PM, near Sogotan village, Laikipia

Jeremiah Lerangere

Jeremiah Lerangere is his mid-to-late 20s. I interviewed him at his family’s boma, which is about a 2 hour walk from Sogotan village. 16 people live in his boma: 1 senior (mzee); 5 wives (bibi); 4 men (morans); and 6 children.

Jeremiah told me that his family first learned about CHAT’s mobile clinic and family planning services in 2007. He and members of his boma had first met up with the clinic when it came to stop at location in front of a nearby river. He said they had originally come to the clinic not in search of family planning services, but simply in order to treat members of his family who were sick at the time. He saw the clinic primarily for its counselors who could tell him whether his, or his children’s sickness, was so bad that he would have to go to the hospital. But he remembers only being told to take medication.

At this meeting in 2007 his family members first learned about family planning. But it took them three years, until 2010, before the wives of the Boma decided to start using family planning methods. Jeremiah said that everyone, including the mzee, wanted the women to start using it. Every women, he says, is now using 3-year or 5-year contraceptive injections. When I asked if there was any stigmatism about using it he replied there is no such problem. He said that all the women need the consent of the mzee, and so long as they have his consent it is fine. In the case of his boma, Jeremiah says that the mzee encourages family planning methods.

Nowadays they receive information about the mobile clinic through Pauline Lokipi, one of CHAT’s mobilizers. He says they receive her information through their mobile phone. Despite using instantaneous communication, it is important to let them know at least a week in advance, because they are not always in a place a mobile network. In addition, because they often have to prepare to walk some hours to the clinic location, it is best they the exact date ahead of time. But he says once they know a date for the clinic and that they are able to spread word, they will do so.


We send you lots of salaams, as always, and will check back in a few months from now.

Tutaonana badaaye (goodbye until later, one of my favorite swahili sayings)!

~The Team at CHAT

Set up under a shady tree
Set up under a shady tree
Misha and the mobile team
Misha and the mobile team
The tough road ahead
The tough road ahead

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Jul 6, 2012

A day in life of the CHAT motor mobile clinic team

Peter hard at work
Peter hard at work

A high-pitched yelp of an African hyena wakes up Peter Obino at the crack of dawn. The CHAT mobile clinic driver quickly wakes up and it suddenly hits him that it is six in the morning and the mobile clinic Land Rover was not loaded last night, as is usually the norm.

He quickly summons up a young lady named Anne who is the clinic nurse and HTC counselor Samuel. The trio then start the frantic job of packing boxes filled with curative medicine, Family Planning commodities, BP machines, record books, safety boxes, condoms...

After a rushed breakfast the motor mobile clinic gets underway driving through the undulating plains of Laikipia, dipping and curving towards ISIOLO Samburu - some of the most marginalized and remotest areas in Kenya.

Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo counties are inhabited by poor, illiterate often nomadic communities without access to basic healthcare amenities and family planning services. Most of the inhabitants often confess that the 'yellow' Land Rover is the only hospital they have known all their 'poor, wretched' lives.

Barrelling for Kipsing village in Isiolo county where a mobilizer is waiting with a group of people, the driver endures a three-hour drive on a rough seasonal road often stopping to honk the horn after passing through manyattas, mobilizing people and informing them that the clinic will be camping in their village.

 It is usual to meet young Maasai morans dressed in colorful shukas often stopping the mobile clinic for a pack of 'cookies', a rural slang for condoms which the clinic distributes under its HIV/AIDS programme.

A few kilometers to Kipsing, the car wobbles dangerously and it is a burst tyre yet again! It is now over 100 Fahrenheit and the Bridgestone tires can't seem to take the searing tropical heat. Far into the distance, a crowd is already milling around the chief's camp eagerly waiting for the clinic's belated arrival. Peter, an old hand quickly changes the tire and speeds towards the already lined up women, men and children who had been mobilized the day before by a local health worker who works alongside CHAT.

The unpacking and setting up the clinic takes one hour and then treatment gets underway. It is almost midday and the crowd is getting restless - they have come a long way, some of them as far as Lpussi and Lchakwai in the north, Samburu east district just for these services.

At this station alone 30 women choose long-term family planning while
3 expectant mothers are taken through the ANC clinic.  Two children with septic wounds are also cleaned and bandaged. Major diseases treated here include URTI, Malaria and a case of STI. All in all 17 people are treated and 20 are tested for HIV/AIDS.

At five in the evening the nurse and the driver assisted by the HTC load up the car and head to the chief's homestead to camp for the night.

It is the end of yet another grueling day for the CHAT mobile clinic who will be camping out for the next 7 nights before returning to base in Laikipia


~ The Team at CHAT

Morans arriving for
Morans arriving for 'cookies'
Family Planning services
Family Planning services
A good day at work
A good day at work

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