In Kenya, Riders' mobilizes Vumilia, a women’s group based in the Kabras district of Western Kenya working to overcome HIV/AIDS in their community through the psychological, social and economic empowerment of women. They provide voluntary counseling and testing facilities, medical referrals, surgeries, home-based care, a feeding program for orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), and a youth program.
Vumilia is raising awareness of AIDS in the community and play an integral part in sharing information to prevent mother to child transmission (PMTCT), a strong intervention for maternal health. Exemplifying this is the story below as told by Beatrice Sajita, one of the Vumilia carers. She explains, "I have a patient by the name Jane Alphonse. She lives in Cheroso area which is about 20 kms from Vumilia. She had not known her status then. The first time I visited Jane at her home, She had a severe skin disease. Rashes were all over her body and she was so itchy. She scratched herself almost continuously as we spoke. I inquired from her if she had consulted a doctor. Jane had suffered the condition silently for over six months and was even avoiding people to avoid gossip by neighbors but still she neither had courage, money nor knowledge to seek medication. I counselled her and encouraged her to seek for medical care. I told her that when we take her to hospital she may have to attend VCT before anything else.
She was so worried that with the rashes all over her body and being seen at the VCT clinic people may start saying that she is HIV/AIDS positive. After several follow ups and counselling, Jane got courageous enough to be tested. She was positive and expectant too. She then was referred to Malava District hospital and put on ARVs. I did follow ups on her for ARV adherence and baby prophylaxis.
Jane delivered a baby boy. The baby boy is now two years old and HIV negative. She still is on ARVs and operating a grocery shop [ at West Kenya [ 5km] from Vumilia, Kakamega. She is very healthy and ok."
Last year was filled with exciting developments at Riders, with one especially exciting development in Kenya. Ourprogram there is now home to our second professional driving school, a state-registered center in Kisumu. Here we offer training courses that provide health workers and program staff alike with the necessary skills in riding, driving, maintenance, and trip planning.
With Riders-managed transportation, outreach health workers in Kenya have the capacity to reach villages located up to 50 miles away, rather than the 12 miles or less that they could before when walking, cycling or using public transport. This means that health workers can reach more mothers, more often, to provide essential health care services, including prenatal visits. By offering this support, Riders can help to make sure that potential problems are identified early and that women have access to the information and support they need to have a healthy pregnancy.
Thanks to the help of our supporters, we are making a positive impact on health care delivery in Kenya.
Riders began work in Kenya in 2007. Here 79% of health workers had to walk to their communities or use public transportation which is unreliable and for which they were not reimbursed. Mobilized by motorcycles managed by Riders, health workers can now reach over 7 times as many people, delivering care, support, and education. They can now spend 4 days a week, 5 hours each day, with the communities they serve.
This is particularly important with expectant mothers, as it allows a health worker to reach her for prenatal care visits. Health care systems are often be undermined by irregular and inconsistent service, which can lead to lack of trust in public health services and a decrease in positive health-seeking behavior. With your help, Riders strengthens health systems by ensuring health workers have the transportation and training in riding, maintenance, and trip planning that is necessary to reach pregnant women with care.
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