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
Oct 24, 2011

"Seven Billion and Counting"

Samburu Woman Receiving Long-Term Contraception
Samburu Woman Receiving Long-Term Contraception

Hello to all of our generous donors-

I have chosen to name this report after an article written in the Financial Times last week. As I am sure some of you have read in various papers, October is the month in which the seven billionth citizen will be born into this world. This child seems to have spurred conversation and thought about just how many people the world can hold, and hold healthily. John Bonagaart is a vice-president of the Population Council, quoted often in the Times article. He states his belief in our ability to house 7 and even 10 billion people, but that it would behoove all of us to do our best to slow the pace of growth. How do we do that? Well, the article offers various strategies, most of which center around Family Planning and its accessibility.

" A primary reason to slow the growth is simple demand. The UN estimates that more than 200 million women around the world currently want, but cannot gain access to, contraception." (Financial Times. 10/19/2011)

This is something CHAT's Community Based Health Worker's realize each time they set out to visit the communities as they watch the lines to receive chosen forms of contraception grow right before their eyes. We provide affordable, accessible, reliable birth control options because women want them.

At the close of the article, Bonagaart states, " We are closer to the earth's environmental constraints than people thought." Putting greater emphasis on Family Planning as a form of preventative medicine is life saving not only for our children, but also for our environment.

This article is eye opening and should any of you care to read, I have attached it below.

We thank you so much, as always, for your continual support and interest.

Until the next report...

The Team and CHAT.


Attachments:
Oct 12, 2011

The Camel's Return from yet Another Trek...

The exhausted camel mobile clinic caravan had travelled for over 16 km since departing from Kirimon in Laikipia County and had served over 200 people with integrated health services that included Family Planning and HIV/AIDS services.

 Led by a hired Government nurse, a Family Planning community worker, an HIV counselor and three camel handlers, the caravan had now slowed down to a stroll, and was approaching Lpussi village deep inside Samburu County.  Luckily, a Chief’s baraza (a chief’s public meeting) was underway in the remote village.

In this particular baraza Susan Lenatari, the Family Planning Community Based Distributor (FPCBD) with Community Health Africa Trust accompanying the clinic stood and engaged over 50 men and 102 women on family planning--an issue the Samburu community is ‘uncomfortable about’ due to the myths propagated by the ‘old folk’ in their community.

"Family planning is only for women. And it makes them promiscuous. I would never advise my wife to use those things [contraceptives] because the role of a woman is to give birth to children," said Lemayan Nanpook, a 28-year-old father of six when he rose to speak.

His counterpart, Mengich Lemayan, who holds that family planning is dangerous, added, "I hear that it makes women give birth to children without ears and eyes. I think couples should space their children through natural means only. They were doing it before the introduction of this family planning thing anyway."

In this part of the world (Northern Kenya), it is men who usually decide on the number and variety of sexual relationships, timing and frequency of sexual activity and use of contraceptives, sometimes through coercion or violence.

"I started by taking pills discreetly because I didn’t want more children given that I have four already. When my husband discovered that I had chosen a 3 year Implanon, he went mad."

In Samburu, the overriding factors against family planning are widespread myths and misconceptions about family planning for women and men. Our FPCBDs understand since they are from the same community but they are well trained to dispel such rumors in order to increase uptake of family planning.

Susan spoke honestly and informatively to the crowd, a simple tactic that debunked the many myths associated with Family Planning. Later in that day, more than 70 women chose Implanon, an insertion method which offers five-years of contraception, as their form of family planning. Implanon is considered a wise choice since reproductive health services are rare amongst the pastoralist communities and many women have already had 8 children.

And as nomadic communities of the north struggle with effects of climate change and runaway population explosion, CHAT continues to give hope through strategic technology choices (family planning) as a means to mitigate poverty and suffering.

Jul 25, 2011

Family Planning: A Means to A Better Quality of Li

recipient of long-term contraception
recipient of long-term contraception

Jambo, to all of our generous donors:

I want to begin with an excerpt from the United Nations Population Fund’s web page.

It [family planning] is one of the wisest and most cost effective investments any country can make towards a better quality of life. Limited access to contraception, on the other hand, constrains women's opportunities to pull themselves and their families out of poverty.

            http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2005/english/ch4/chap4_page2.htm

When you read statements like this, you can see how investing in family planning is like investing in preventative medicine: it pays off in the long run. Having the choice to decided how many children one wants to have and at what time, is not only a basic human right, but a means to a more healthy, quality, life. Your continual support of our efforts to provide reliable and affordable family planning options, helps us to ensure this right is able to be practiced by the remote communities of Northern Kenya.

 

In our most recent family planning trip to Northern and Eastern Samburu a total of 309 clients were reached with long-term FP methods. Of those clients, it was observed that women were escorting their daughters to the clinic to receive long-term methods and men were seen accompanying their wives. The presence of men in the company of their wives, gives us great hope, as they are often the ones most resistant to our services.

 

10 years of commitment to these communities has created a relationship of trust. Through education and consistency, we find ourselves in front of more open-minded audiences, willing to trust in the beneficial options available to them- options allowing women to be in control of their health and bodies. As the trust grows, so does the demand, which is why partnerships are such an important part of CHAT. Many hands do make light work. The Ministry of Health and the British NGO, Marie Stopes have been invaluable contributors to the work we do, the MOH recently having placed family planning as one of its top priorities.

 

So, know that we are busy at work. And we thank you, always, for your interest and generosity.

 

We will be back with more updates in a couple of months.

 

Asante Sana.

 

The team at CHAT

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