Jun 2, 2021

Better Safe Than Sorry

CORP Rosie doing sensitization in the village
CORP Rosie doing sensitization in the village

* not their real name

"When the year 2021 started, most of us disregarded the C-19 prevention protocols." Lisa* Started narrating. "We assumed because a lot of programs like schooling were resuming, that it had gone away. My friends and I decided to go on a road trip to enjoy ourselves after a long year of being 'too cautious'. We could not of cared any less. We did not observe any social distancing even with strangers in crowded places. We just wanted to have fun and kept convincing ourselves that we could only live while young”.

Lisa went on to say, “After our trip, we all went back to our normal lives not considering that we may have contacted COVID - after all, it had 'ended'!  A few days later I started feeling lethargic and just sickly. One moment I was cold the next I could not stand having clothes on. I did not understand what was happening to my body. I developed a cough and was always short of breath. I decided to go to the hospital. After explaining myself I was immediately referred for tests as the doctor suspected either TB or C-19 and true to his suspicion, on getting my results back I tested positive for COVID”.

Lisa continues “I knew I had only interacted with my friends, otherwise I had been at home most of the time. I called to confirm if they were okay and 3 out of 8 were not feeling okay. We decided that those who were okay would quarantine themselves just in case and those that were showing signs got tested and if positive they isolate so that they would not spread it to other people. It dawned on me that Rosey, CHAT CORP partner, who lives in the same area as me, was not wrong when she kept calling to ask me if I had a mask on and if I was keeping safe. Being the young carefree person I am, I almost thought she was annoying and wished she'd stopped pestering me. Oh, how I wish I knew she was trying to save me the suffering!”.

“Though my symptoms did not get very severe and could be managed through home-based care, it was difficult to get help at most times. Only Rosey would come in full gear to check whether I was feeding and if I was taking my medication as advised. Other people feared that even by having a phone call I could end up infecting them. I realized that even though we had all the information, there was some sort of stigma. Rosey had a huge task to mitigate myths and misinformation ahead - to get people in our small village to listen and understand that with proper protection, while interacting with a confirmed case, they could not contact C-19, that once I get healed, they cannot get it because I no longer had the disease, and best of all is if they got vaccinated, they had a better fighting chance. I regret the carelessness."

CHAT reached a total of 29,993 people with integrated family planning & COVID 19 behaviour change communication (bcc).

CORPs distributed face masks, soap, hand sanitizers, provided 5 litre & 20 litre containers towards constructing simple hand-washing stations for C-19 prevention.

 

"The caution that existed in the spring has more and more been replaced by hugs and parties, bus trips in rush-hour traffic, and an everyday life that, for many, seems to return to normal. What we do right now, we will be glad of later. What we do wrong now, we will suffer for later."

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven

Community handwashing system for C-19 prevention.
Community handwashing system for C-19 prevention.
Door to door C-19 sensitization.
Door to door C-19 sensitization.
Apr 21, 2021

The Morning Run

Backpack sensitization in the manyatta
Backpack sensitization in the manyatta

“When he first visited my boma early in the morning, I suspected that something had gone wrong,”narrates Lenarte*. “According to our culture, when an unusual guest checks in that early in the morning, it rings a bellthat all is notwell,” Heexplainsfurther.

His wife was the first to see him as she was milking her cows when he entered their homestead in ayellow t-shirt and bag at his back. Just after they had their usual Serian (Maa greetings), theunexpected visitor explained to the wife that he would so much appreciate having a brief conversationwiththecouple.

"Our daktari, is anything the matter? Just tell me" begged the wife looking so scared that probablytheir daktari did not have good news for them. His confident response was meant to assure her thatnothinghadgonewrong,thoughthewife'sfaceexpresseddissatisfaction.Afterofferinghimaseat,she went to finish up milking and came back to wake up the husband to meet the somewhat unusualguest.

Since his engagement with CHAT as a CORP, Eturen had made up his mind to always conducthousehold visits within the communities especially early in the morning, since his focus was to reachboth men and women for sensitization. "I realized my community is paternalistic,hence a prudent idea is to ensure that men are also involved in the family planning decisions as they are the family heads and enlightening them on the importance of family planning enablesthem to approve and make FP decisions together with their wives, which could not be the case if theywerenotengaged," heexplains further.

Lenarte and his wife joined the guest who was waiting for them outside the manyatta. (Eturen waskeen to remind them to have their masks in adherence to the MoH protocols). Up to this time, Lenartehadn't yet conceptualized what news Eturen had for them that earlymorning.Assoonastheyweresettledanddonewiththeir‘Serian’,Eturenwentaheadandintroduced the subject matter. As he was explaining the FP intervention (using CHATs PHE approach)he could notice both Lenarte and the wife nodding in agreement. “Whenever our human population ismanaged, we are capable to have access to quality health and the environmental resources aresufficient enoughtosustainour livelihoodsandfuturegenerationsas well”Eturen recalls.

As he concluded his sensitization, Lenarte would not help but suggest to his wife about embracing the5years implants amongst the other contraception methods they had been sensitized about. “I amgrateful, that daktari visited us and my husband warmly supports this. Women go through a lot during child delivery and some of us even die in the course. I am lucky for having an understanding husband. I hope he becomes a model for many others in the community,” wife confirmed.

“What a joy! Every time I wake up, I think about steering change in our community andconserving our natural resources,” Eturen commented as he filled the referral forms for hisnew friend’s wife, as he hadpromised to accompany his wifetothefacility for services.

Thanks to GG support in the past three months, CHAT was able to reach a total of12,217 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information with4,467 family planning clients receiving different contraception methods, of which 3,562 chose the long-term methods- 3/5-years protection against unwanted pregnancies.

Overpopulation is a root problem of all the environmental issues. If you can control the population, you can control almost anything.” Rinkesh Kukreja, Founder – Conserve Energy Future.

Lenartes wife accessing contraception-5yrs implant
Lenartes wife accessing contraception-5yrs implant
Community sensitization by CORP
Community sensitization by CORP
Apr 21, 2021

Off the Yoke

CHAT CORP sensitizing Jambi on FP
CHAT CORP sensitizing Jambi on FP

There has always been an interplay between literature and reality according to Njambi*, a single mother of 5 children.

“My late grandmother shared a tale of a cow that had starved to death at a homestead only to later realize the rope had been consumed by termites. I used to relate this tale with my personal experience as all my five children are all from different fathers who abandoned me when I needed them most,” Njambi recalls.

“A solitary mind undergoing stress and suffering cannot even seek advice from her friends, as during such times you realize that you have no friends, with those you thought were your friends sitting on the fence watching as your drama unfold,” Njambi explains.

“I used to go for my casual work with two of my young children, one day as I was on my way back home from work, I stopped by the roadside to breastfeed my youngest child,” Njambi recalls. “I was in deep thought on what the kids would have for supper, and after some time I realized that there was a lady in a yellow T-shirt and a backpack, who was standing beside me. What came to my mind was that the lady was doing some GoK food distribution work for the needy, and I thanked my stars for I thought I was amongst the lucky beneficiaries,” Njambi further recalls.

Karimi’s (CHATs CORP) - side of the story had nothing to do with her immediate need at that moment, as soon as she saw the lady, it reminded her of her past life. She had once been a victim of men just like *Njambi was & still is. CHAT CORP introduced herself, and with time Njambi opened up and shared her story; this later opened doors for CORP to shed more light about her work – family planning  information and access to the service.

At first, Njambi was not ready for the idea, but after an in-depth discussion between the two, she understood the importance of planning the family not only for herself, but also for the benefit of all her 5 children and the community in-general. “Where have you been since I started suffering?” Njambi questioned Karimi as she became emotional.

While walking towards the closest health facility, with her wisdom, Karimi assisted with counseling on the fp methods available; so immediately on arrival Njambi decided and chose to have the IUCD (coil), with the HCW providing it instantly after carrying out the necessary tests.

“My memories for that time are bitter-sweet memories- bitter because still suffered, and sweet because I had a permanent solution. Plus, we have a single mother’s support group that meets on a monthly basis and I normally take advantage of those days to empower my fellow single mums on how to keep safe from unwanted pregnancies and they have responded positively to my messaging,” explains Njambi with a smile on her face.

“Njambi’s is not only a tale, but a true story as the community has witnessed her transformation,” CHAT’s CORP laments.

Thanks to GG support in the past three months, CHAT was able to reach a total of 12,217 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information with 4,467 family planning clients receiving different contraception methods, of which 3,562 chose the long-term methods- 3/5-years protection against unwanted pregnancies.

One of the major causes of poverty is a lack of family planning. Governments and non-profit organizations need to encourage poor people to use birth control so that they don't have unexpected babies, which will only make poorer families poorer.”- Philip Kotler
CHAT intergrated outreach- Hard to reach terrains
CHAT intergrated outreach- Hard to reach terrains
Njambi being sensitized on the different FP method
Njambi being sensitized on the different FP method
FP beneficiary showcasing CHATs work
FP beneficiary showcasing CHATs work
 
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