Feb 27, 2017

THE DARKEST DAY

Njoki* receiving services from CHAT nurse in 2015
Njoki* receiving services from CHAT nurse in 2015

It had been a busy morning for Nurse Pauline and Driver Peter (who assists Pauline with registering the patients and clients). They were under a large gum tree near the small poor village of Karionga, about 12 kms from Nanyuki town.

Pauline had noticed some very smart cars drive past, then park about 300 yards away outside a humble “shelter” – one could hardly describe it as anything else.

 At the time Pauline was providing Wangari* with FP services. Making casual conversation, Pauline asked her client, “What are those smart cars doing parking outside that dwelling?”

Wangari hung her head and said,”Those are politicians - they have come for  Njoki’s*– ow.”

“Oh!,” said Pauline, “she must be a fortunate woman having such wealthy ‘friends’.

“No No she has ‘passed’ – she died this morning together with her babies…. her story is very sad,” Wangari with angry tears starts to tell Nurse Pauline about Njoki’s tragic story.

“Njoki was a 32 year old married mother of 4 children, the youngest being only months old and the eldest 14. Back in 2015 Njoki had visited CHAT motor mobile clinic seeking FP services - she opted for a 5 year implant method of contraception. 1 years later, her husband  - who worked as a casual laborer at a nearby flower farm and was the sole breadwinner - pressured her to have more children, so trusting him; she went ahead and had another – after removing the implant. Njoki’s husband, on hearing the news, immediately vanished into thin air and has never been traced to this day! But Njoki never lost hope that her husband would return and therefore decided to keep the pregnancy. Months passed, the child was born – but no husband - nowhere to be found,” Wangari narrates.

“As her close friend, Njoki called me to her house (which is that over there with the now smart cars outside) and confided to me that she had tested to be HIV positive during her antenatal clinic; but she remained in denial, refusing to be put on treatment. She felt like she had no reason to live - the world had shown its cruelty to her and her children, she also felt a disgrace to her children, womanhood and community Oh why was she so naïve, to just be turned into “waste” by the man she had trusted with her life,” Njoki further explains.

“I wish I could swallow back all these children - back into my stomach and die as a family, because it’s easy to add, but difficult to maintain,” Wangari recalls Njoki’s last words.

“Look at me” says Wangari, “Despite having three children - all from different fathers - at-least, thanks to you (CHAT outreach team) I receive family planning services.

I received FP the same day as Njoki back then, but for her she decided to trust that ‘useless husband of hers’ without thinking critically and now look - ending her life and her own flesh and blood in such a painful way- drowning one in the tank of water, strangling another to death, before hanging herself from that tree.

And now these smart cars are using this tragedy by making a ‘show’ of caring – blah”

Nurse Pauline and Peter packed the vehicle and went home in shocked silence.

This quarter, December 2016 – February 2017, thanks to your donations (cost shared’) CHAT reached 10,803 individuals with family planning/ ecological awareness information, of which a total of 1,015 patients were treated for different conditions & 6,345 women with different FP contraception methods of their choice in 10 counties in Kenya.

Dec 6, 2016

FORTUNATE WOMAN

Taking control of my Life-Kinas
Taking control of my Life-Kinas

At the crack of dawn on our second day at our Loikumkum base clinic camp in Samburu, northern Kenya, CHAT’s nurse met with Kinas*, a shy and pleasant twenty three year old, divorced Samburu mother of seven children; Kinas was desperately trying to seek ways to avoid more unwanted pregnancies. She chose a 5 year contraceptive; although ideally she would like a ‘permanent method’. However, that option was not immediately affordably available to her.  “The ages of my 7 children are thirteen (13), ten (10), seven (7), five (5) & nine (9) months old twins - yes, I have twins!”

“This is not my first time to hear about FP, in fact I chose to have a five 5 year implant a few years ago, after I had my fifth child. But I made the decision to have another child, however, after separating from my husband, and being left with now “twins” to care for on top of my other five children, I have decided not to have any more children. Now here is CHAT availing my community this powerful opportunity to be able to take control of my life - ohwaaah! Birth control is the only blessing that will save the world,” Kinas exclaimed to the nurse.

“I now understand that Family Planning is not only beneficial to human, but also to the wildlife & environment - in our traditional Samburu culture, our great grandparents used to conserve the wild life - it was revered; it also brought tourists and this was a source of income for the community. They used specifically the elephant dung for lighting the first fire in a Manyatta (homestead). Therefore, it’s important to balance the population to protect the environment and hence, cherish the planet” Kinas exclaimed.

For Kinas, the 5 year implant protection FP method is the best decision for her considering her current situation, or will choose a permanent method when the opportunity arises.

“As an empowered single mother, am motivated to use a FP method as I believe that human overpopulation is the fundamental problem to my community today. We human beings have become a disease, the human-pox!!” Kinas lamented.

CHAT nurse supported Kinas by confirming that “We must speak more clearly about sexuality, contraception, and abortion - values that control population because an ecological crisis, in short, is the population crisis”.

“Yes!” agreed Kinas, “Therefore, cut the population by 90% then there are not enough people left to do a great deal of damage to the ecosystems!” Retorted Kinas airily.

With CHAT’s core intervention and focus being on Population Health and Environment, CHAT ensures quality provision of free FP services to the marginalized communities in Kenya. A world fertility survey indicates that anywhere from one third to one half of the babies in the third world resulted from unwanted pregnancies; so if their mothers had access to affordable, reliable FP, these mothers would be empowered and have a say & influence in their own family size - presently most do not.

“We must alert and organize the world’s people to take specific steps to solve the two root causes of our environmental crisis-exploding population growth and wasteful consumption of irreplaceable resources. Overconsumption and overpopulation underlie every environmental problem we face today,”- Quoted by Jacques Yves Cousteau

Between September to November 2016, thanks to your donations (cost shared) CHAT reached 11,775 individuals with family planning/ ecological sensitisation, & 6,474 women chose and were given contraception methods of their choice. A total of 1,137 patients were also treated for various ailments (an important entry point to CHAT’s FP services) - all in 10 Kenyan Counties

This is part of being an empowered woman
This is part of being an empowered woman
Dec 1, 2016

HUMBLE VICTORY

CHAT FPCORP Namusungu taking Namaiyan's BP
CHAT FPCORP Namusungu taking Namaiyan's BP

Namaiyan*, who hails from Arjijo , in the Mukogodo area in the Laikipia North sub county was 14 years old when she became pregnant. After birth, she confided to one of her trusted neighbours that at her age and being single, she did not want to have any more children because she is unable to feed the child she has – let alone trying to support any other children.

Namaiyan’s neighbour informed her that during the chief baraza, the area chief confirmed that a team of health providers accompanying a motor mobile clinic, had requested him to assist with the mobilization – and that they would be in the area within the month. Among the services that they will provide would be free family planning services – but tht here would be s small ‘token’ cost for the basic curatives.  Her neighbour promised to alert Namaiyan once the mobile team arrive.

On arrival of “CHAT’s” motor mobile health team in the area, the neighbour took Namaiyan to the camp site where the mobile clinic was set up. They were welcomed by the Family Planning Community Own Resource Person (CORPs)  called Namusungu, and after several hours of counselling on a range of choices of family planning methods, Namaiyan decided upon the five (5) years Implant as her FP method of choice. “I chose the (jadelle) Implant because it lasts for five (5) years. You cannot forget to take it like you can with the pills - this is a five (5) years guarantee,” says Namaiyan.

Namusungu shared a quote that an educated friend of hers found, and thought how appropriate it was to her situation.

“The quote by John O’Donohue: Anam Cara in the book of Celtic Wisdom goes something like this, “There is the solitude of suffering, when you go through darkness that is lonely, intense and terrible. Words become powerless to express your pain; what others hear from your words is so distant and different from what you are actually suffering, therefore let’s all double up! Use condoms and a highly effective birth control method to take charge of our reproductive health,” Namusungu lamented.

Via CHAT supported mobilizers like Namusungu, women like Namaiyan are transforming their lives through FP – being able to access contraceptives, she now has the choice to plan for the future.

”Expanding eligibility of FP services to low-income women will maximize cost-savings both for the community and government, thereby reducing the disparities in access to family planning services for low-income women and hence, decrease the incidence of abortion and infanticide in our communities,” FPCORP Namusungu confirms.

Namaiyan was lucky to receive professional FP advice. In many underserved communities, widespread myths about contraception mean that many women like Namaiyan don’t have the facts that they need to make informed choices, as we cannot confront the massive challenges of poverty, hunger, disease and environmental destruction unless we address issues of population and reproductive health; bearing in mind that, “each person we add now disproportionately impacts on the environmental and life- support systems of the planet,”- George W. Bush.

CHAT’s core intervention and focus is Population Health and Environment thereby providing free FP services to the marginalized communities in Kenya - as birth control in these times must lead ultimately to a balanced healthy environment. This quarter September – November 2016, thanks to your donations (cost shared’) CHAT reached 11,775 individuals with family planning/ ecological awareness information, of which a total of 1,137 patients were treated for different conditions & 6,474 women with different FP contraception methods of their choice in 10 counties in Kenya.

Namaiyan receiving FP services from CHAT nurse
Namaiyan receiving FP services from CHAT nurse
Beneficiaries cuing for health services- CHAT team
Beneficiaries cuing for health services- CHAT team
 
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