COMMUNITY HEALTH AFRICA TRUST
CASE STORY By Patrick Kimanzi
Longewan, Samburu County-KENYA.
As she walked out of the enclosure that serves as the camel mobile clinic ‘theater’ room, Martha Nyaano 27, a mother of six felt the gaze of the crowd upon her. Just outside, a group of women had gathered from surrounding villages, all with one thing in common: The desire to limit the size of their families. Later they would be treated for various ailments but family planning first: they all seemed to agree.
Eagerly, they had waited while Martha became the first of the group to undergo her contraceptive method of choice. Now, striding toward the crowd without a hitch, she paused and addressed her folk, doing her best to erase their lingering fears and doubts--if any;
“Friends, this operation is nothing. I couldn’t feel anything. You people don’t lose heart.”
This was one of the many scenes witnessed during CHAT’s camel mobile clinic that spend a total of 30 days criss-crossing the vast Laikipia and Samburu regions of Northern Kenya.
That particular day a total of 31 received Implanon. And although this number represents a small fraction of the long-term family planning clients reached by CHAT, it is elating to realize that Samburu women show an exceptional level of independence and strength in a culture where women traditionally face extreme social and economic inequality.
CHAT integrated camel mobile clinic also offers immunizations, HIV counseling and testing and provision of basic curatives.
(Patrick Kimanzi is CHAT’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer)
Community Health Africa Trust (CHAT) carried out yet another successful integrated camel mobile clinic in March 2010.
CHAT camel mobiles, which go out for a month at a time, are reaching the underserved remote communities providing them with crucial integrated health services including family planning and basic curatives.
THE CAMEL MOBILE CLINIC RESULTS FOR THE MONTH OF MAY 2011
This camel trek reached over 2862 people in 14 stations across Laikipia and Samburu counties.
- 1500 condoms distributed
- 101 women received a 3 month Depovera injection
- 217 women received long-term (5 year) contraceptive implant - Jardel.
Basic Curatives: (TB, STI, Malaria, Pneumonia, Gastroenteritis, Conjunctivitis, etc)
HIV/AIDS counseling and testing:
- 1980 participants
- 670 individuals tested and were given their results.
- Flooded rivers in the areas of operation make movement and accessibility an enormous challenge in reaching the remote and mostly nomadic people of Laikipia and Samburu.
- Widespread insecurity and tensions ahead of 2012 general elections can impact negatively on the mobile clinics since it passes through most of the tribal areas that were at it (tribal clashes) during the 2008 disputed polls.
- The grueling camel mobile clinic demands dedication, stamina, will and zeal to walk in unfamiliar terrains, route changes and the ever present threat from wild animals, including elephants and lions.
- It has been realized that integrated camel mobile clinics are the most practical way to provide healthcare services to the remote areas of Laikipi and Samburu.
- Close collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), in which the MOH helps to monitor and supervise CHAT program activities, has been hugely beneficial. It has strengthened program implementation and performance, and has kept CHAT current on government policies and on effective data collecting tools.
- Strong collaboration with district government stake-holders, including the DDO and DSDO, has supplied CHAT with material support as well as substantial assistance in networking and capacity building.
- The increased community contribution in support group participation and mobilization over the years has improved the security of the clinic in outreach areas. For example, communities have begun to offer secure accommodation sites during times of tribal insecurity for the mobile clinic staff.
- Networking with government departments as well as other NGOs and healthcare providers has assisted CHAT in the fulfillment of their sustainability plans. It has been of particular help with capacity building in the remote PLWHA support groups.
The integrated camel mobile clinic team negotiates a swelling luger in Samburu County during the March camel mobile clinic. PHOTO: Andy and Sam (Filming Volunteer.
An exhausted integrated camel mobile clinic slows down to a trot (never mind the fast approaching sunset) during the camel clinic trek across Laikipia and Samburu. ALL PHOTOS: Andy and Sam (Film Volunteers) Attachments: