Project closure summary
Community Health Africa Trust has been implementing health care activities in the Laikipia and Samburu regions of Kenya, for the last 10 years. As you surely know, we reach poor, marginalized communities, who are otherwise under-served, through the most appropriate means of transport, either with vehicles, camels, providing services such as family planning and reproductive health, and basic curative treatment, which includes TB and malaria, and relevant components of HIV/AIDS services.
Both projects began in January 2011 and were intended to close out in June 2013, having run for 21/2 years. Over that period of time, through your valued donations and other contributions, we have reached about 30,000 women with various methods of family planning services and 12,000 individuals with basic curative medications.
The Integrated Mobile Health Clinics project has so far attracted $
The Family Planning and environmental health initiative has so far attracted $8,135.00
Through the support of GlobalGiving, CHAT has continued to contribute significantly towards achieving Kenya’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the country’s development blueprint, the Vision 2030.
These achievements been done through cooperation with support of our key partners (the Ministry of Health MoH) in the delivery of health services.
No. of women provided with long-term (up to five years) contraception methods s
(GG donations & other)
No. of children suffering from malaria, TB, or an upper respiratory infection provided with anti-biotics.
No. of nurses sponsored for one month helping reaching 1600 rural clients.
No. of patients treated with malaria curative
No. of camel mobile clinics funded for one week reaching ‘forgotten’ peoples in remote parts of Kenya with health services for malaria, HIV/AIDS and Family Planning.
No. of women provided with long term (up to 5 years) contraception implants
(GG donations & other)
No. of quarterly trips to pick up 90,000 condoms for distribution from the ministry of health
4 (GG donations alone)
No. of community based family planning mobilizers engaged for 1 month and help reach 1600 individuals for family planning intervention and education
25 (GG donations alone)
No. of nurses sponsored for 1 month
8 (GG donations alone)
We, at CHAT, wish to post a new project on GlobalGiving. The new integrated project is entitled, Mobile Health Clinics for the Poor & Excluded Communities of Kenya. We will continue our mission of mitigating against extreme suffering and poverty by escalating our family planning and basic healthcare services to reach poor, excluded and often remote communities.
We are hoping to reach 40,000 women this year with family planning services.
We thank our donors for the continuous support extended to the marginalized communities we serve and very much look forward to a continued partnership with GlobalGiving and its exceedingly generous and engaged community of donors.
We hope this report finds all of you well.
CHAT was recently visited by an Australian gentleman named, Sam Day. Sam was not only a volunteer, but a prolific writer. His countless journal entries paint colorful images of life in the communities we serve and offer comments and observations from the perspective of a young man with a desire to learn about a culture unlike his own, and help, in whatever way possible. As this perspective may be similar to that of individuals, such as yourselves, who desire to both learn about and connect with other cultures, I thought to share with you a few of his entries. These entries will help bring to life an organization that you know only through these reports and our Global Giving project landing page. They pertain mainly to his observations of our Family Planning initiative. I imagine you will find them moving, at times hard to read, illustrative, sometimes amusing, and thoughtful.
14/02/13 - Thursday
I am picked up early in the morning from Shanni’s property after she too has also departed for the other version of the travelling clinic. Shanni began this organisation in its humble beginnings and still runs the show. She and others already present on site will travel with stock and equipment carried and transported by camels. These workers will walk with the camels to the designated sites. The method of my transport is not as ‘African’ as this romantic and adventurous notion. I am picked up in a yellow Land Rover 4wd that idles adequately and reassuringly. I meet Peter first, the driver for our entourage. I am told by Shanni, that he is a lovely man by nature and my initial meeting does not betray this suggestion. He is a Kenyan local and wears a yellow polo shirt tucked into green business trousers. Interesting attire but fashion is certainly not a priority to most people I meet. Peter is well acquainted with his own laughter. Secondly I meet Anne, another Kenyan local and she too is a lovely lady with exuberant enthusiasm for working alongside volunteers like myself and many more previously. I will come to realise later in the trip that Anne and Peter are two puzzle pieces in this unfinished jigsaw of a nation. The nursing skills Anne has are a product of the ever improving education system in Kenya and she is now applying them in the best way possible. She is contributing to the rural community of the country. Yet another tiny but vital stepping-stone for the much needed improvement of the country. I don’t mean to sound condescending or patronising when I say that, but coming from the comfort of a developed nation, I see the flaws this country has. Peter also plays a large part in bringing these services to the community. He drives and maintains the vehicle and is involved in the administration side of the clinic on site.
We drive for a couple of hours over rocky and hostile terrain that will become very familiar over the seven days. Peter seems to take us where there is no road, through farm paddocks and across arid plains. Peter and Anne teach me basic Kiswahili words as we travel. We close in on our targeted spot. We start to see ‘Manyatas’. These are huts that are constructed in the same fashion by most tribes by applying dry clay soil cladding to an aggregate system of sticks and branches that are held together by any means available. Peter sounds the vehicle horn repeatedly and in a purposefully intrusive manner. This is to alert the locals of their arrival. The mobile clinic fits in a condensed format in the rear fibreglass cab of the Land Rover and after parking under a shady tree, we begin to set this up. There are several tables and chairs that we erect and more importantly an abundance of medicines, drugs and other medicinal utensils that are kept in cardboard boxes and plywood shelves. We place these on the tables and play the waiting game. This is a game that I confidently say I have mastered by the end of the week. We are situated at Sukoroi station which is a few hours outside of Nanyuki. There is only one tribe that lives here. The Samburu people. Whilst driving through the village, A Samburu woman waves and calls out to us and Anne laughs, telling me that all Samburu women talk and communicate in one tone. We sit in the shade like idle cattle and the first patient arrives.
Regina Ayanae – Female. 32 yrs old.
Probably the largest aspect of the clinic is what the staff call, ‘Family Planning’. This is administering contraceptives and birth control so I guess the name is pretty appropriate. There is an ample supply of condoms, which are handed out for free to locals who wave our vehicle down occasionally. More so Anne will inject plastic tabs into women I fail to find out the name for. These are implanted into a woman’s upper arm and release a chemical ever slowly to prevent pregnancy. These implants are effective for three years or five years depending on the type. There is also a shot for three months. This is paramount in population control which I have a strong opinion is very necessary for particular families in Kenya who struggle to provide for their children. This will also benefit the country in the long run I think. General rule of thumb: It is harder for a government to provide amenities and services for the country when the population is larger. No brainer, right. Anne calls me in to the tent where she implants the birth control products. She introduces me to Regina who is receiving an implant. Anne shows me Regina’s arm. She bends it for me and tells me that when Regina was a young girl she broke the arm and it never got treated. Regina can use the arm in every normal way as it has healed since then obviously, but its appearance is awkward and twisted. It has not mended correctly in a plaster cast, as it should have been. Anne administers the local anesthetic first in the arm and I cringe as I see the needle lift up the thin veneer of skin. Regina watches un-phased. Next Anne inserts the larger hollow shaft for the insertion of the birth control product. This is even more unnerving to watch as the skin offers resistance. I leave. My last vision is of Regina’s face as she watches the large needle enter her arm. She is un-phased.
Rebeccas Meirani – Female. 25yrs old.
Rebecca has a swollen face and it looks sore and blemished. She walks with a limp. She has been beaten severely by her husband of 27 yrs of age. Rebecca has given birth to five children in her young age. I think to myself at this point of the mental, not to mention financial inadequacies that these parents have to support five children. The couple have no money and no food. This causes stress and friction between them. Rebecca has done some work for the neighbour and returns for payment but the neighbour has gone to the market and therefore is not present to provide Rebecca with payment. Rebecca has returned home with no money and the stress boils over into physical violence. The husband beats her. The family dynamic is one that is slightly less common now in Kenya thanks to the education provided by these clinics. This primitive yet cultural concept is that the husband believes the woman should bear many children and stay at home and care for them while he will find work if possible and drink and socialise with other men. Foresight is absent in this plan. The fact that Rebecca has been on birth control for three months is also in direct opposition to the husband’s beliefs. Since the fight, he has since left and there is no sign of him. Whilst Rebecca is at the clinic, the oldest child looks after the other four siblings. I make an educated guess of her age. Maybe no more seven years old.
Thus far not many men turn up for treatment at the clinic. It is primarily women and babies. No locals wear sunglasses at all and there are eye problems in the elderly due to sun damage. I see the eyes of the elderly and they are whitened and faded. Later in the trip, a young infant with sticky fingers from sweets, handles my sunglasses and renders them virtually useless as I can not see out of them. I pack them away in my bag. It is then that I notice how harsh the dust, sun and wind are on the eyes. I wish I could shout out to people how beneficial wearing sunglasses is but I contain my condescending and indulgent opinions. I miss my sunglasses.....
The Team at CHAT
Happy 2013 from all of us here at CHAT!
We hope this report finds all of you well and with a good start into the New Year.
CHAT is entering 2013 with a fresh start. Our website has recently been re-developed (www.chatafrica.org) , new volunteer opportunities have been put into place, which you can learn more about through our website, and the camels are heading out for a month-long trek.
In the past three months, your donations through Global Giving afforded us the means to support a new Family Planning Community Based Health Worker (FPCBHW). His name is Josphat Ekai Ngasike. He is based in a village by the name of Marti, located in the Samburu North district. Josphat’s role is to mobilize local community members to visit the clinic. As our work takes place in some of the most remote areas in Kenya, it is important to have contacts on the ground in order to remind people of clinic dates and locations as well as to explain the family planning services we offer and also speak with villagers about the pros and cons of each of the methods. I will post a photograph of Josphat soon.
These FPCBHWs are an integral part of our work. They are our eyes and ears and voice in the districts where we work and have become individuals both the clinic and the communities we serve, rely on for information and communication.
Thank you for your continued support of CHAT. The next report will have a story or two from the camel clinic that just set out.
We look forward to updating you again soon.
All of our best wishes to you fand your family for a healthy and happy 2013!
The Team at CHAT
Jambo from Kenya.
We wanted to use this report to post a summary of Family Planning stats in the regions of Kenya where the mobile clinic travels to, because the numbers are quite impressive as well as motivating. These stats have been taken from the past 8 months and show a steady incline of the number of individuals using contraception.
We attribute this growth in participation to recent initiatives of the Kenyan Ministry of Health, but mainly to our tireless team of nurses, community mobilizers, drivers, camel herders, and of course, our camels for carrying the load.
I imagine these numbers will only continue to grow as the major preventative health benefits of Family Planning are currently being highlighted by important organizations around the globe.
Always with lots of thanks for your contributions and your interest.
The Team at CHAT
We hope this report finds you well and enjoying summer.
Some exciting news has taken place since our last report that we thought you might enjoy hearing about. The London Summit on Family Planning has just recently raised 4.6 billion in pledges- the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation leading the charge with a pledge of over 1 billion, followed by 2.6 billion from a group of wealthy nations, and 2 billion from developing countries. These monies are estimated to deliver contraceptives to 120 million women by 2020.
As our team at CHAT has been working tirelessly for just over ten years to teach about and give access to safe and affordable birth control, we were very pleased to catch wind of this recent progress and focus. Many women and the communities in which they live, men included, are slowly beginning to trust in the positive aspects of birth control, despite their often strident cultural norms. The demand is there, and as long as funding allows, we will continue to ensure that it is met. Our hope is the promotion of healthy, empowered women and, therefore, healthy babies-the result of access to safe and affordable birth control.
Interview by Misha Mintz-Roth while on the CHAT mobile clinic
Sunday, July 1st, 12PM, near Sogotan village, Laikipia
Jeremiah Lerangere is his mid-to-late 20s. I interviewed him at his family’s boma, which is about a 2 hour walk from Sogotan village. 16 people live in his boma: 1 senior (mzee); 5 wives (bibi); 4 men (morans); and 6 children.
Jeremiah told me that his family first learned about CHAT’s mobile clinic and family planning services in 2007. He and members of his boma had first met up with the clinic when it came to stop at location in front of a nearby river. He said they had originally come to the clinic not in search of family planning services, but simply in order to treat members of his family who were sick at the time. He saw the clinic primarily for its counselors who could tell him whether his, or his children’s sickness, was so bad that he would have to go to the hospital. But he remembers only being told to take medication.
At this meeting in 2007 his family members first learned about family planning. But it took them three years, until 2010, before the wives of the Boma decided to start using family planning methods. Jeremiah said that everyone, including the mzee, wanted the women to start using it. Every women, he says, is now using 3-year or 5-year contraceptive injections. When I asked if there was any stigmatism about using it he replied there is no such problem. He said that all the women need the consent of the mzee, and so long as they have his consent it is fine. In the case of his boma, Jeremiah says that the mzee encourages family planning methods.
Nowadays they receive information about the mobile clinic through Pauline Lokipi, one of CHAT’s mobilizers. He says they receive her information through their mobile phone. Despite using instantaneous communication, it is important to let them know at least a week in advance, because they are not always in a place a mobile network. In addition, because they often have to prepare to walk some hours to the clinic location, it is best they the exact date ahead of time. But he says once they know a date for the clinic and that they are able to spread word, they will do so.
We send you lots of salaams, as always, and will check back in a few months from now.
Tutaonana badaaye (goodbye until later, one of my favorite swahili sayings)!
~The Team at CHAT
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