A new patient getting family planning information
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
Set up under a shady tree
Misha and the mobile team
The tough road ahead