Merlin worker Agnes, teaches vital health messages
Update on Kenya Rural Health Services
The Merlin Kenya team co-ordinates a huge health and nutrition program. Teams continue to respond to the food crisis with emergency mobile and outreach teams in the arid areas of the north west of Kenya. The teams run safe motherhood programs in three districts of Turkana and malaria and primary health care projects in Kisii (in central, west Kenya). A program focusing on disabled people has just begun, to improve access to the more focused health and well being care required.
Some of Merlin’s activity highlights
- Over the year (July ’11 – June ’12) 252 outreaches visits were conducted over 21 sites. Services included; vaccinations, primary health care, family planning, health education and micro-nutrient supplementation targeted mainly at children, pregnant women and nursing mothers, the elderly and disabled.
- 75,456 people (that’s 74% of the target population) were involved in key health message presentations, such as why hygiene, nutrition and vaccinations are important for general good health and well being.
- There was a 41% increase (2,326) of children fully immunized under 1 year old,
- and a 13% increase (4,614) in the number of families using family planning.
- 5,381 people (57%) were counseled for HIV/AIDS, and a 46% (4,484) increase in those tested.
- 10 health workers were trained in lifesaving skills in emergency and essential obstetric & neonatal care in Nakuru (west Kenya).
- 20 women group leaders were trained on safe motherhood basic concepts to help increase awareness on maternal and child health care services.
- Community liaison officers, midwives and health officers were trained on communication skills and assisting communities in accessing health care ie. how to hold village community meetings, integrate with local community cultures and encourage participation in health services.
- Medical and surgical equipment, drugs, antibiotics and supplies such as gloves, syringes, linen, soaps /detergents for hand washing were given to Merlin supported health facilities.
- All 3 health facilities within the districts now offer emergency obstetric care. Merlin continues to supply the necessary equipment and medicines.
- 152 obstetric and gynecological complications were referred to Lodwar hospital.
- 9,477 pregnant women attended antenatal classes, however only 17% (1,638) visited the ante-natal clinics (ANC) on four occasions, the number Merlin recommends.
- 1,516 pregnant women (out of the 6,777) were assisted in childbirth by skilled health workers. Efforts to increase the number of deliveries by skilled attendants are still mired by both the large distances women live from the facilities and cultural barriers. Merlin hope to increase the number of assisted deliveries at health facilities, by changing behavior and is exploring ways of discussing with communities appropriate messages.
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Community Health Worker malaria training, Kisii
A Turkana mother clutches her health report card
Psychosocial training of local health staff, Kisii