Feb 9, 2011

Healthy People, Healthy Ecosystems

Teenage woman getting 3 month contraceptive shot
Teenage woman getting 3 month contraceptive shot

 “I became a mother when I was barely 16 years old. I have a total of 9 children; seven daughters and two sons. I was just giving birth almost every other year and the nearest health facilities are either in Rumuruti town or Salaama. Going to Salaama was closer but it will still take you like a whole day, let me say 6 hour walking to reach. With the baby in the tummy, you reach exhausted and barely listen to what the nurses say. It became routine to me until, I think, 4 years ago when CHAT Mobile clinic started visiting the area. My last two children have been immunized here and it’s our only known ‘hospital’ we count on now. 

This baby am carrying is now 6 months old and will be my last born. You are likely to laugh and wonder why now, and not before, but the good thing, I am now doing family planning. The nurses have been supportive and when they counseled me on family planning I didn’t look back. My husband too became supportive, after all, we did not have any special reason to have many children. Nobody really told us about planning family. I do not regret having many children, but now I won’t have another child and I have been sharing with other mothers who are also keen to plan their family. Smaller family is easy to manage.”

                                                                   -  Family Planning Client, Samburu Region

Thank you to all of out donors for your recent contribution to CHATs family planning and environment conservation initiative. The remote areas we work with in Kenya’s Rift Valley is incredibly biologically diverse, but, as we are sure most of you know, growing populations put increasing pressure on this environment. Poor communities most often depend on their environmental surroundings and small-scale agriculture for their well-being, and, because of rapid population growth and health issues, they may be forced to use natural resources unsustainably. But when you have communities whose poverty, lack of infrastructure, and ill health pre-occupy the minds of the individuals, preserving land for, let’s say, the Grevy’s Zebra, is secondary to the needs of a hungry, thirsty, or sick child. 

CHAT’s mobile clinic has been operating for ten years now, and over that time we have seen an exceptional increase in the number of families willing to partake in some form of family planning. The recent 2008-2009 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey found that almost 31% of married women in the Rift Valley have an unmet need for family planning. 

Just this past month, on our visits in the Laikipia and Samburu regions, we met the needs of 534 women in the following capacities:

  • Oral Contreceptive: 33
  • Depovera( 3-month): 176
  • Implants (5 year): 387
  • Tubal Libation referral: 18

Thanks to your donations, we are able to provide 125 women with long-term contraception commodities. We have also just brought on a young masai woman named, Joyce to be a community mobilizer for family planning. She comes from Ewaso- one of the more progressive communities in the Laikipia region where there are now conservation projects underway initiated by Laikipia Wildlife Forum. Joyce will head out with the CHAT’s team next week to begin her training. 

We will keep you posted on her progress. 

Women in line to receive contraceptives
Women in line to receive contraceptives


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