HealthRight International

HealthRight International is a global health and human rights organization working to build lasting access to health for excluded communities. We work closely with communities and establish local partnerships to deliver health services. At the same time, we provide training and equipment and improve systems to enable our partners to deliver services on their own. Our goal is to build lasting access to health, helping to protect and fulfill the rights of excluded communities.
Dec 3, 2014

Three Months In; Thousands Reached

Thank you, friends, for your support!

It isn’t difficult to measure how your contributions to this project make a tangible difference in the lives of people living in Marakwet, Kenya. Bringing life-saving health care services directly to people in these poor communities means healthier babies and children, mothers, fathers and families. Here are some great examples of the impact we have made in the last three months:

-          Sixty mobile clinics provided 1,641 vaccines. One in every 14 children in Kenya dies before the age of five. Rural children are twice as likely to die as those in urban areas. For children in these rural communities, a measles or polio vaccine can be a game changer. Immunization rates in Marakwet County are unacceptably low at less than 70%. This means that nearly one-third of children are at risk of serious illness because of where they live. And this is not acceptable. Through this initiative to support Mobile Clinics, HealthRight is working to even the odds for these children.

-          Over 600 children with diarrhea in Marakwet were identified and treated. The mobile clinics offer much more than just immunizations. They provide care for children sick with malaria or diarrhea. Diarrhea is a leading killer of children in the world globally and Kenya is no different. In 2013, nearly 15% of all child deaths were due to diarrhea in Kenya. But with HealthRight’s support, diarrhea is moving from deadly to nuisance.

-          Nearly 500 women received antenatal care in their village. Another important role of these HealthRight-supported Mobile Clinics is to monitor women during pregnancy for signs of complications – such as high blood pressure, bleeding or dizziness – signs that mother or baby may be in danger. Only 20% of women in Marakwet seek adequate antenatal care in facilities during pregnancy. The distances are too great to walk and there is no public transport. This results in too many deaths of newborns and mothers during delivery. Thanks to HealthRight, nearly 500 women and their babies are more likely to survive.

In total, this small Mobile Clinic project has reached 4,157 people in three months - all for the cost of $1,600 or about 39 cents per person. The work continues but funding is in short supply. Consider sharing this report and telling your friends and family about our progress. It can make all the difference in the world to us and the families we serve.

Thanks, again!

May 13, 2014

FINAL PROJECT REPORT

The Need:

Giving birth at home greatly increases the risk of death for mother and newborn in the event of complications during delivery. Health centers are equipped to deal with these dangerous complications, thus making delivery at the health center a much safer option than at home. Yet many women in rural Kenya are unable to get to the health center in time to deliver their babies. For example, in Pokot County, a pregnant woman travels an average of three hours to the nearest health center. If she waits until labor starts to travel, she may not make it to a facility in time to deliver. This is one reason that only 28% of mothers in Pokot deliver their babies in health centers.

 

Our Solution:

HealthRight has constructed Maternity Waiting Homes next to three health centers in Pokot County. Maternity Waiting Homes are a free service for pregnant women which encourages them to deliver their babies at the health center instead of at home. Women can travel to the Maternity Waiting Home before labor starts and wait there free of charge until delivery. In the Homes, nurses from the neighboring health center monitor women closely and help with preparations for birth. In addition, community health workers visit the Homes daily to offer education about safe motherhood and newborn care. Mothers can stay in the home again after delivery to recover before the long walk home. This Global Giving project provides funding for maintenance and supplies for the Maternity Waiting Homes as well as health education for the women.

 

Project Activities:

These contributions to the project through Global Giving have provided ongoing support to the three Maternity Waiting Homes which has been essential in garnering community support for their use. Funds were used for community health workers to visit women while they are in Maternity Waiting Homes, offering health education and monitoring for danger signs. In addition, HealthRight was able to use project funds to offer some upgrades and repairs to the infrastructure. In Ortum, windows were repaired prior to the onset of the long rainy season. And in Kapenguria, the project bought solar powered lanterns to provide electricity for women during their stay in the home.  

 

Project Results:

Use of the Homes has been steadily climbing since they were constructed in late 2011. A total of 321 women stayed in one of the Maternity Waiting Homes this year compared to only 278 last year. This represents an increase of 15% in just one year. And, 57 of these women experienced an obstetric complication, a potentially serious problem if they had opted to deliver at home. In part, this increase in use has been a result of facility staff referring women in false labor to the Maternity Waiting Home to await delivery. The increase is also likely to be due to satisfaction among women in the community. 100% of women using a Maternity Waiting Home say they would recommend it to a friend. Finally, data has shown that the homes appeal most to first-time mothers by offering them additional support and, hopefully, establishing a healthy behavior for future pregnancies.[i]

One of the most important lessons HealthRight has learned about the maternity waiting homes is the value of engaging the community health workers to provide education to pregnant women and new mothers during their stay. Many of the women using the homes indicated that the daily educational sessions were very useful for them and was a major benefit to using the Maternity Waiting Home. In the past year, community health workers supported by HealthRight’s project have reached 16,645 community members with information about safe motherhood and the use of the Maternity Waiting Homes. In addition, they offered health education sessions to 4,247 women and family members staying in the three homes this year.

 

The Project’s Impact:

Women are very satisfied with the maternity waiting homes and speak very highly of them to others in their family and community. This leads to greater use of facility services over time. Here are some testimonials collected in the past year:

-          ‘The maternity waiting home takes good care of pregnant mothers. I would have delivered at home just like my other children ‘. Says Rael

-          ‘Hospital delivery is safe and clean. The services are good. I would have delivered at home [because] I delivered other children at home ‘. Says Sophia

-          I almost died in my previous delivery with [a traditional birth attendant] at home. I fear for my other children that is why I decided to come and wait from the [maternity waiting home]. Says a women using the Ortum home

As a result of this work in Pokot, there has been increased interest in the use of Maternity Waiting Homes in Kenya as a viable method for improving maternal and neonatal health. The facility staff in Ortum, Kapenguria and Kabichbich, where the maternity waiting homes have been constructed, recognize the benefit of the project. This has been manifested in greater collaboration and commitment to the homes. For instance, in Kapenguria, the hospital administration has agreed to provide and launder linens for women staying in the maternity waiting home. And, the County Minister of Health is considering a proposal from the facility staff to distribute food to women during their stay in the maternity waiting home.

The news of the three Maternity Waiting Homes has spread. Health facilities in surrounding communities and neighboring counties have requested assistance from HealthRight to construct and support additional homes. Other international and national organizations have begun to support Maternity Waiting Homes throughout Kenya. In addition, the Ministry of Health has listed Maternity Waiting Homes in their national planning as a possible strategy for reducing maternal and newborn deaths.

 

Next Steps:

HealthRight intends to continue to integrate the use of these three Homes into other project strategies in Kenya. Because of increased interest in the Homes, HealthRight will seek funding from other interested donors to consider expanding the impact and constructing them in other rural districts. From this project, HealthRight staff has a good understanding of how to overcome the most common challenges to establishing and sustaining Maternity Waiting Homes including the need for long-term community engagement, and good collaboration with facility staff. These lessons will be useful when moving forward with the expansion and seeking additional funds.

 

[i] An Evaluation of Maternal Waiting Homes as a Strategy to Improve Health Outcomes for Mothers and Newborns in the North Rift Valley, Kenya, (unpublished manuscript) HealthRight International; 2010.

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Jan 2, 2014

Global Giving Donors Help Save Lives

Overview:

Women in Pokot County in Kenya face enormous challenges during pregnancy and delivery.  Great distances between health facilities, high costs and poor quality of care contribute to far too many deaths for women and their newborns. HealthRight is working to improve these statistics and to keep mothers and babies alive. Since 2010, HealthRight has been supporting three maternity waiting homes (MWH) which eliminate the need to walk an average of three hours during labor. The homes lead to closer monitoring of labor by trained health staff and better quality of care during delivery.  Babies whose mothers stay in a MWH are healthier at birth than those whose mothers do not use the home.  Global Giving funds are used to support community health workers who offer education to women in the homes and to promote the homes throughout Pokot County.

 

Progress:

News of the three Maternity Waiting Homes supported by HealthRight and by Global Giving is spreading through Pokot County and their popularity is growing.  In the past three months, 111 pregnant women used the homes in Kapenguria, Ortum and Kabichbich. This is nearly twice as many women as used the homes during the same time period last year!  The biggest increase has been in Kapenguria, the newest maternity waiting home, which was filled to capacity in November.  More importantly, HealthRight has documented a 40% increase in the use of the health facilities for deliveries in the same time period.  In 2013 there were 1,167 deliveries versus only 807 in 2012. This means fewer women delivering their babies at home which equates to fewer preventable deaths in the long run.  And that is something to be very excited about!

 

What is the secret to the success of these homes?  Women tell us they receive better service from the health staff when they stay in the maternity waiting home and we know that their labor is more closely monitored.  Funds from Global Giving pay for community health workers to visit women in the homes every week and counsel them on important health topics like keeping themselves and their babies safe, identifying danger signs in newborns, and the benefits of breastfeeding.   Because of these benefits, all of the women using the maternity waiting homes in the past year were highly satisfied with their stay and reported that they would refer a friend in need.

 

This project also supports community events so that pregnant women in rural communities learn about the maternity waiting homes and the importance of delivering their babies in a health facility.  In the past three months, over 1,000 women received these messages.   

 

Here’s what Global Giving funds helped to achieve this quarter:

# of women enrolled in homes: 111

Total #. of deliveries in the facility: 1,167

# of  classes provided by CHWs in the homes: 135

# of participants in classes in the homes: 1,181

# of participants in community events: 1,107

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