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 7, 2012

Happy 2012 from the Camels and Crew at CHAT

 

Hello Again to all of our generous donors and Happy New Year!

It is almost hard to believe that a year has gone by- a thought that runs through my head on the brink of almost every New Year nowadays…

Last January I remember writing to all of you about our inclusion in the ABC series, “Be the Chance to Save a Life” sponsored by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was a very proud moment for our clinic and our camels, both of whom are still tirelessly chugging along to meet the increasing demands of our communities.

The last quarter for the Community Health Africa Trust has been busier than usual. Apart from family health matters (including cases of malaria, pneumonia and tuberculosis, advice and treatment for HIV/AIDS), we are being asked ever more frequently for family planning advice and contraception.

We ran a month-long Camel Clinic between 24th September and 24th October, which went smoothly and achieved a great deal.

Our team has proven to be proficient in marketing and communications, alongside of treatment, tapping into local radio stations broadcast in the vernacular, and sending text messages through their mobile phones, informing communities of the clinics arrival. Now more and more people turn up for our clinics. And when the team arrives, they are now most often greeted by a long queue!

The camel clinic is never without its surprises- one example this month being a herd of elephants charging right at the procession. Luckily we have a very quick thinking driver who rightly placed his vehicle in between the upset eles and the Camel Caravan and the collision was thankfully thwarted.

While out visiting these communities, our staff pinpointed another urgent need and that is for more counsellors to give lectures to the Samburu and Turkana men in their tribal languages on the benefits of family planning. They still remain largely ignorant in this matter and most are keen to learn about it. This will ultimately help their women to apply for contraception. Nevertheless, women seem to courageously make decisions as they must, and seek contraception on their own, as they see fit.

On this month-long expedition, the team treated 660 women with the 5-year injection for contraception (JADELLE), while 96 women asked for the 3-month DEPO. CT had over 320 clients. Some cases of tuberculosis were noticed and were referred to their respective health centres and 309 to the Out Patient Department.

The trip was a great success, as they often prove to be, however, our team was not able to do as much as was required, due to lack of time and resources. 

The mobile team included 8 staff:  1 nurse, 2 counsellors and 1 family planning/CBD agent, as well as 4 handlers for the 8 camels.

The total cost to C.H.A.T. for this mobile clinic was US$4648.00.

As always, we thank you for your contributions. Our work is in many ways thanks to yours. We will be in touch in a few months time.

Lots of salaams, and Happy New Year to all of you,

 

The team at CHAT.

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.

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