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Feb 28, 2017

THE VICTIMS

CHAT FPCORP providing demorming tablets to pupils
CHAT FPCORP providing demorming tablets to pupils

It is during one of the CHAT outreach clinics in the slums, that Rose, CHAT FPCORP met with a young lady named Sakino* and wanted to understand her views about family planning and Population Health and Environment (PHE).

Being a single mother aged 24 and living with her three children in Majengo- Nanyuki slums, Sakino wished she did not have a lot of waste to get rid of or at least had a way of disposing of it that was safe for the environment. “With the growing number of people in my village, I do agree that our environment is deteriorating. There is an urgent need to make voluntary contraception available so that women and their families are able to live healthy, productive lives”. Due to the hard lifestyle in the slums, Sakino’s child developed a lot of stomach complications resulting in multiple hospital visits.  “She had recurring and new diseases and they could not find the cause of her sickness,” Sakinoi lamented.

“One day while on my way to the hospital, I met Rose while mobilizing for Family Planning (FP) services in the slums.  Rose advised me to boil all the water that I use in my household and maintain the hygiene in my household, she further challenged me to visit the clinic camp for further FP/ecological awareness services that was to be held at the chief’s camp,”Sakinoi narrates.

“I tried boiling the little water I could get and with time, my children’s health started improving.  My routine visits to the nearby health facility had reduced tremendously and that was when I realized that this might have been the major cause of my continuous visits to different hospitals to seek medical attention for my children,” Sakinoi confirms.

 “With the growing population in the slums, problems like poverty, unemployment and pollution is on the rise leading to major negative effects including improper waste disposal and hence, water borne diseases,” Sakinoi explains.

“The health and success of the poorest populations hinges on thriving natural ecosystems.  Women and youth are the most vulnerable and yet remain the most marginalized.  Accord[project]ing to Guttmacher, 225 million women want to prevent pregnancy but aren’t using an effective method of contraception. This is why CHAT has been providing free health related services including Family planning to these groups of people.  Research supports this link indicating that a smaller world population could lead to substantial long term climate related benefits by lowering carbon emissions and hence improving the health of the planet. My hope is that more headway will be made through environmental negotiations that acknowledge the compound benefits of rights-based voluntary family planning for women and children at the individual level and for the planet at a global level.  Ultimately, a decreasing population in the slums will benefit us all,” Rose confirms.

“According to Lawrence M. Krauss, the root cause of the looming energy problem- and the key to easing environmental, economic and religious tensions while improving public health- is to address the unending and unequal, growth of the human population. And the one proven way to reduce fertility rates is to empower young women by educating them and providing affordable family planning,” Rose further attests as the nurse starts offering health services.   

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.

CHAT outreach team providing health services-slums
CHAT outreach team providing health services-slums
CHAT nurse providing FP services via door to door
CHAT nurse providing FP services via door to door
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
 
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