HealthRight International

HealthRight International is a global health and human rights organization working to build lasting access to health for excluded communities. We work closely with communities and establish local partnerships to deliver health services. At the same time, we provide training and equipment and improve systems to enable our partners to deliver services on their own. Our goal is to build lasting access to health, helping to protect and fulfill the rights of excluded communities.
Mar 3, 2015

Mobile Clinics Save Many Lives in Kenya..

HealthRight International would like to thank you all for your generous support! Please see the attached Quarterly report in PDF for summary and pictures.

Each month, HealthRight continues to supports 20 mobile clinics (10 in Marakwet West and 10 in Marakwet East). Some of the most common services that are available through the mobile clinics include growth monitoring for infants, prenatal care for pregnant women, immunizations, deworming medication, first aid, treatments for diarrhea and malaria, and family planning education. We wanted to let you know that your contributions to this project make a tangible difference in the lives of people living in Marakwet, Kenya. Bringing life-saving health care services directly to people in these poor communities means healthier babies and children, mothers, fathers and families.

Here are some great impacts we have made in the last two months:

  • Fourty mobile clinics in last two months administered immunization to 1,137 patients. One in every 14 children in Kenya dies before the age of five. Rural children are twice as likely to die as those in urban areas. For children in these rural communities, a measles or polio vaccine can be a game changer. Immunization rates in Marakwet County are unacceptably low at less than 70%. This means that nearly one-third of children are at risk of serious illness because of where they live. HealthRight is working to even the odds for these children.
  • 1,266 patients received deworming medication. Diarrhea is a leading killer of children in the world globally and significant portion of diarrhea is caused by worms that live in the intestines especially in developing countries. In 2013, nearly 15% of all child deaths were due to diarrhea in Kenya. We are hoping with HealthRight’s support on diarrhea prevention, fewer children will die from diarrhea.
  • 364 women received antenatal care in their village. HealthRight-supported Mobile Clinics monitor women during pregnancy for signs of complications – such as high blood pressure, bleeding or dizziness – signs that mother or baby may be in danger. Only 20% of women in Marakwet seek adequate antenatal care in facilities during pregnancy. The distances are too great to walk and there is no public transport. This results in too many deaths of newborns and mothers during delivery. Thanks to HealthRight’s mobile clinics, 364 women and their babies have a greater chance of survival because they received antenatal care.
  • 177 patients went through family planning education. High fertility can impose costly burdens on developing nations and women’s health. It may impede opportunities for economic development, increase health risks for women and children, and erode the quality of life by reducing access to education, nutrition, employment, and scarce resources such as potable water. Furthermore, surveys of women in developing countries suggest that a large percentage (10-40%) want to space or limit childbearing but are not using contraception. This finding indicates a continuing, unmet need for contraception and HealthRight’s mobile clinics are trying to fill the unmet need by providing family planning education and contraception.

In total, this small Mobile Clinic project has reached 2,886 people in two months. The work continues but funding is in short supply. Please consider sharing this report and telling your friends and family about our progress. It can make all the difference in the world to us and the families we serve. Feel free to continue to follow our progress of PMNH+ project through our website: https://healthright.org/where-we-work/kenya/.

Once again thank you for your continuing support!

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Dec 3, 2014

Three Months In; Thousands Reached

Thank you, friends, for your support!

It isn’t difficult to measure how your contributions to this project make a tangible difference in the lives of people living in Marakwet, Kenya. Bringing life-saving health care services directly to people in these poor communities means healthier babies and children, mothers, fathers and families. Here are some great examples of the impact we have made in the last three months:

-          Sixty mobile clinics provided 1,641 vaccines. One in every 14 children in Kenya dies before the age of five. Rural children are twice as likely to die as those in urban areas. For children in these rural communities, a measles or polio vaccine can be a game changer. Immunization rates in Marakwet County are unacceptably low at less than 70%. This means that nearly one-third of children are at risk of serious illness because of where they live. And this is not acceptable. Through this initiative to support Mobile Clinics, HealthRight is working to even the odds for these children.

-          Over 600 children with diarrhea in Marakwet were identified and treated. The mobile clinics offer much more than just immunizations. They provide care for children sick with malaria or diarrhea. Diarrhea is a leading killer of children in the world globally and Kenya is no different. In 2013, nearly 15% of all child deaths were due to diarrhea in Kenya. But with HealthRight’s support, diarrhea is moving from deadly to nuisance.

-          Nearly 500 women received antenatal care in their village. Another important role of these HealthRight-supported Mobile Clinics is to monitor women during pregnancy for signs of complications – such as high blood pressure, bleeding or dizziness – signs that mother or baby may be in danger. Only 20% of women in Marakwet seek adequate antenatal care in facilities during pregnancy. The distances are too great to walk and there is no public transport. This results in too many deaths of newborns and mothers during delivery. Thanks to HealthRight, nearly 500 women and their babies are more likely to survive.

In total, this small Mobile Clinic project has reached 4,157 people in three months - all for the cost of $1,600 or about 39 cents per person. The work continues but funding is in short supply. Consider sharing this report and telling your friends and family about our progress. It can make all the difference in the world to us and the families we serve.

Thanks, again!

May 13, 2014

FINAL PROJECT REPORT

The Need:

Giving birth at home greatly increases the risk of death for mother and newborn in the event of complications during delivery. Health centers are equipped to deal with these dangerous complications, thus making delivery at the health center a much safer option than at home. Yet many women in rural Kenya are unable to get to the health center in time to deliver their babies. For example, in Pokot County, a pregnant woman travels an average of three hours to the nearest health center. If she waits until labor starts to travel, she may not make it to a facility in time to deliver. This is one reason that only 28% of mothers in Pokot deliver their babies in health centers.

 

Our Solution:

HealthRight has constructed Maternity Waiting Homes next to three health centers in Pokot County. Maternity Waiting Homes are a free service for pregnant women which encourages them to deliver their babies at the health center instead of at home. Women can travel to the Maternity Waiting Home before labor starts and wait there free of charge until delivery. In the Homes, nurses from the neighboring health center monitor women closely and help with preparations for birth. In addition, community health workers visit the Homes daily to offer education about safe motherhood and newborn care. Mothers can stay in the home again after delivery to recover before the long walk home. This Global Giving project provides funding for maintenance and supplies for the Maternity Waiting Homes as well as health education for the women.

 

Project Activities:

These contributions to the project through Global Giving have provided ongoing support to the three Maternity Waiting Homes which has been essential in garnering community support for their use. Funds were used for community health workers to visit women while they are in Maternity Waiting Homes, offering health education and monitoring for danger signs. In addition, HealthRight was able to use project funds to offer some upgrades and repairs to the infrastructure. In Ortum, windows were repaired prior to the onset of the long rainy season. And in Kapenguria, the project bought solar powered lanterns to provide electricity for women during their stay in the home.  

 

Project Results:

Use of the Homes has been steadily climbing since they were constructed in late 2011. A total of 321 women stayed in one of the Maternity Waiting Homes this year compared to only 278 last year. This represents an increase of 15% in just one year. And, 57 of these women experienced an obstetric complication, a potentially serious problem if they had opted to deliver at home. In part, this increase in use has been a result of facility staff referring women in false labor to the Maternity Waiting Home to await delivery. The increase is also likely to be due to satisfaction among women in the community. 100% of women using a Maternity Waiting Home say they would recommend it to a friend. Finally, data has shown that the homes appeal most to first-time mothers by offering them additional support and, hopefully, establishing a healthy behavior for future pregnancies.[i]

One of the most important lessons HealthRight has learned about the maternity waiting homes is the value of engaging the community health workers to provide education to pregnant women and new mothers during their stay. Many of the women using the homes indicated that the daily educational sessions were very useful for them and was a major benefit to using the Maternity Waiting Home. In the past year, community health workers supported by HealthRight’s project have reached 16,645 community members with information about safe motherhood and the use of the Maternity Waiting Homes. In addition, they offered health education sessions to 4,247 women and family members staying in the three homes this year.

 

The Project’s Impact:

Women are very satisfied with the maternity waiting homes and speak very highly of them to others in their family and community. This leads to greater use of facility services over time. Here are some testimonials collected in the past year:

-          ‘The maternity waiting home takes good care of pregnant mothers. I would have delivered at home just like my other children ‘. Says Rael

-          ‘Hospital delivery is safe and clean. The services are good. I would have delivered at home [because] I delivered other children at home ‘. Says Sophia

-          I almost died in my previous delivery with [a traditional birth attendant] at home. I fear for my other children that is why I decided to come and wait from the [maternity waiting home]. Says a women using the Ortum home

As a result of this work in Pokot, there has been increased interest in the use of Maternity Waiting Homes in Kenya as a viable method for improving maternal and neonatal health. The facility staff in Ortum, Kapenguria and Kabichbich, where the maternity waiting homes have been constructed, recognize the benefit of the project. This has been manifested in greater collaboration and commitment to the homes. For instance, in Kapenguria, the hospital administration has agreed to provide and launder linens for women staying in the maternity waiting home. And, the County Minister of Health is considering a proposal from the facility staff to distribute food to women during their stay in the maternity waiting home.

The news of the three Maternity Waiting Homes has spread. Health facilities in surrounding communities and neighboring counties have requested assistance from HealthRight to construct and support additional homes. Other international and national organizations have begun to support Maternity Waiting Homes throughout Kenya. In addition, the Ministry of Health has listed Maternity Waiting Homes in their national planning as a possible strategy for reducing maternal and newborn deaths.

 

Next Steps:

HealthRight intends to continue to integrate the use of these three Homes into other project strategies in Kenya. Because of increased interest in the Homes, HealthRight will seek funding from other interested donors to consider expanding the impact and constructing them in other rural districts. From this project, HealthRight staff has a good understanding of how to overcome the most common challenges to establishing and sustaining Maternity Waiting Homes including the need for long-term community engagement, and good collaboration with facility staff. These lessons will be useful when moving forward with the expansion and seeking additional funds.

 

[i] An Evaluation of Maternal Waiting Homes as a Strategy to Improve Health Outcomes for Mothers and Newborns in the North Rift Valley, Kenya, (unpublished manuscript) HealthRight International; 2010.

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