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 Health  Kenya Project #14468

Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services

by Communities Health Africa Trust
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services
CHAT Nurse Ann providing the 5 years implant
CHAT Nurse Ann providing the 5 years implant

The loud uproar of laughter attracted the attention of Linoti*. He wondered what a group of women could be laughing at with these new visitors that had come to their village, Ngilois. He went closer and heard the lady seated in the middle of the cackling group talking about how women are endlessly having children and that they should plan their families to ensure they can comfortably bring them up. He immediately stopped the meeting. ‘Where are the other women! You all need to learn from this woman!’ He stated. ‘We are all suffering the same fate, why can’t you be kind and inform all you friends to come?’ He continued. 

Linoti immediately rushed back home to bring his two wives. He was just tired of always thinking of how he would sustain his family which was rapidly growing. It was as if his wives were competing to give birth!! They consequently got pregnant and baby cries were all too common a melody in their homestead

When Linoti got married to his first wife, Leeresi*, he was wealthy and wanted to have as many children as possible. He never thought that his wealth would deplete even though he did not have a constant source of income. Having the mentality that he was a rich man, he then married a second wife, Naantawa*. When she started having children too he started straining to feed them. This is when he realized that his decisions were not sustainable for their well-being. He had to step up, otherwise they would end up very poor and hungry! He found odd jobs that he would do but still they did not provide him with enough income. He decided that it was time to maintain his family size as it is, his nine children plus his wives and him. He had heard one of his peers talking about family planning but out of shame he decided not to ask least he would look like a fool for not knowing what it was.

When the ladies came and found the health education going on, being done by CHAT ‘s supported CORP partner, Pauline, they too sat and listened. Though they learned about the benefits of FP, they were scared that if they stopped having children then their husband would stop loving them. “On the contrary,” their husband told them “we have had enough and do not expect any of you to get pregnant ever again!” On hearing this, the gleeful ladies chose the 5 year and 3 year implant protection methods respectively. So, Pauline then took them to where the CHAT motor mobile had set up the clinic, where they got their FP method of choice.

‘It is very sad that women have senseless competitions like these. They should understand that these days having many children will prove to be a burden to them. I wish they can all understand the importance of child spacing and not having too many children,’ Pauline commented as she went to get more women to come and receive their FP methods of choice.

 

In the past three months, with support from our GG donors we have been able to reach 35,085 People (Both men and women) with BCC information on Family planning with a PHE approach and 7,850 with different methods of contraception.

“The next most dangerous thing after nuclear proliferationis probably global warming, and then, right behind that is overpopulation; we need to get serious about family planning and trying to alleviate poverty, to get clean, renewable energy, probably with solar panels to the billion and a half people in the world who don't have access to electricity.” Ted Turner

CHAT CORP partner providing BCC information
CHAT CORP partner providing BCC information
Strategies that CHAT use to provide services
Strategies that CHAT use to provide services
CHAT Nurse Ann providing services
CHAT Nurse Ann providing services

‘With this economy and the expensive living, it is only normal to work more than one job.’ Lentua* explained. “Some people barely sleep and an opportunity to rest is rare. We work so hard but really never enjoy the fruits of our labor. I for one am a mother to twin girls in high school. Being a single mum, I cannot sustain them with the little I earn from my job as a waitress. I do not have any academic qualification past secondary school meaning I can only rely on local jobs.

With this, I could not find any other job apart from prostitution. Am not proud of it but it makes the ends meet so I do not mind. My girls do not know what I do on the side and I hope they never know. I leave work from the hotel at seven in the evening, go home, clean up and go to work. I love going to uptown clubs where men flood to find their luck with young women. On a lucky day I get at least five clients but am not young so I have to work harder to be on top of the game.

I am aware of the risks. I have seen girls raped and left for dead. Some customers are very aggressive and end up not paying even after making an agreement before. There are a lot of diseases and these are a major job hazard. If you are sick word might spread and there’s no way you will get customers if people know. The biggest of them all is pregnancy. Yes, I know it sounds atrocious to be scared of a pregnancy than a disease but how could one survive a lifetime of responsibilities compared to a manageable disease? Raising a child alone is much more expensive and a lot of hard work thus we need to protect ourselves. That is how we all know of Esther.

Esther-CHAT CORP offers counselling to all of us anytime we go to her. She organizes with a nurse and goes from house to house to offer services thus we all are cleared of pregnancies. If a new girl comes, we introduce her to Esther. We always replenish our stocks of condoms from her. She truly supports us without any judgement. I intend not to have more children and that’s why I have the five-year implant. This has ensured that I can go about my business without any fear or worries.

“I cannot offer jobs or a livelihood to all of them so I help where I can. Everyone has a story behind their situation and choice and am here to ensure they are safe and feel accepted.

As Martin Luther once said, ‘every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.’ I choose the light of creating better lives for fellow women.”

In the past three months, CHAT was able to reach a total of 2,671 individuals with BCC information with 780 of these being youths. 1,007 women receiving different FP methods and  a total of 5,142 condoms were distributed both male and female.

Nalimu as she receives her implant
Nalimu as she receives her implant

“As I got to this remote and desolate village in Sura Adoru, I found children playing their happy games, laughing with each other - oblivious of the hardships around them. All they know is being happy and obedient to their parents. But something else caught my eye. One of the girls playing had beads worn by married women. I wondered why such a small girl had them. I couldn’t believe that she really was married. I called her aside so to know why she was dressed like that; then that is when a woman confronted me furiously, and asking me why I was talking to a married woman!?  I learnt that the woman, *Nalimu, was the girl’s mother in law, she was very protective of the girl.

I responded to Nalimu, shocked, ‘No! The girl can’t be a married woman, she is too young!” Nalimu responded by saying that she had got married at the same age and is now a grown woman and is okay, so why can’t the girl be married!

This prompted me to ask the lady how many children she has - and with self-condemnation she replied NINE!!! And her husband was not going to stop any day soon. Nalimu then confessed that she knew the trouble the young girl was about to encounter in her life and wished she had an alternative option, but dowry had been paid and the traditional wedding ceremony already happened - there was no going back.

Nalimu explained that her father wanted more wealth and was not willing to work so he decided to marry her off and that is how she ended up married young and with the nine children that she has. She wished that she had less children and a better life, like her cousins who often came from town to visit them. They are always happy and have money to splurge around on big phones that look like televisions. She also is scared of having more children, she does not want any more at all, and that was her biggest problem, she did not know how to prevent them.

Susan explained to Nalimu that she can control her pregnancies. All she needs to do is learn about family planning. She was eager to learn more so she welcomed me to her manyatta, and made me tea so we could sit and talk. I talked to her about FP and of its benefits. She realized that it was a choice she could make for herself and her family. There and then she decided to go for the three year protection implant that would ensure she does not get anymore “surprises” in that period of time. Susan assured her that she would be okay and nothing would go wrong. She really appreciated the kind hands of CHAT’s nurse, Ann, and the huge ‘free’ solution to her problem.

‘I pity the young bride. In about two years she will start sleeping in her own manyatta with her husband and this will be a problem. I hope I can convince my son to let this girl, at least, grow older before they have children. “Charity begins at home, let me see how much effort it takes me into securing a future for her!” Nalimu committed.

 

To support young girls, mothers and the community in general, CHAT, this last quarter reached a total of 34,208 individuals with holistic Family Planning using a PHE approach, in which a total of 12,328 women chose different usually longer term contraceptive methods.

 

“By improving health, empowering women, population growth comes down” Bill Gates.

Community sensitization by CHAT CORP.
Community sensitization by CHAT CORP.
Kathambi (beneficiary) receiving FP services
Kathambi (beneficiary) receiving FP services

‘Uuuui uuui mtoto nalia kwa choo! Saidia Mimi!’ Mama Mwende* screamed. People thought the ever drunk old woman was being crazy as usual, but her endless screams prompted the nearby community members to go ascertain if really there was a baby in the pit latrine. True to her word an infant was relentlessly crying due to the harsh conditions down below in the toilet pit. People wondered where the baby could have come from, especially since Mama Mwende was too old to conceive let alone carry a pregnancy to term! From the cooperation of the sympathetic community members the child was retrieved. This was a shock especially since something like that had never happened here before. The biggest question was who was the mother? Soon enough a young girl confided in CORP Karimi her in Tharaka County.

The young girl told Karimi that when she, CORP Karimi, had visited earlier in the year she had chosen the three month injectable contraceptive protection and refused any other method, thinking it would be the most effective in terminating her pregnancy. She, the young girl, had lied saying that she was on her menses and went on to fake it so that she would not be tested for a pregnancy. Kathambi got her depo and went home thinking that now she would not deliver a child at nine months. When she got labor pains she did not understand why - especially since she was sure that when she got injected she had terminated the pregnancy.

When CORP Karimi learnt of this mountain of misunderstanding, she explained to Kathambi* (the young girl) that contraceptives do not terminate pregnancies.

Kathambi had decided to throw the child away and not inform anyone since she was hoping that her parents would take her back to school.

Kathambi was counselled on the use of long-term contraceptives and then choosing a method that would ensure no risk of pregnancy for the next five years.

Many girls around Gaceraka, in Tharaka South, drop out of school due to unwanted pregnancies. Kathambi was a good example that if the young girls were not counselled and their mothers sensitized on the importance of contraceptives it would lead to drastic fatalities.

‘I wish she had told me that she was pregnant; we would have found a solution together. This is tragic- I don’t know what to do!’ Kathambis’ mother regretted.
‘There is a huge need for contraception in this community. The women here do not go to the hospital neither do they have adequate knowledge on the use of contraceptives. It will take a lot of intervention to ensure that they are aware of their right to contraception.’ CHAT’s CORP partner, Karimi explained, and she added “There is this wonderful quote, - “my goal is to know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others”…. you'd be surprised how far that gets you.” - I have known the suffering of the women here and I hope I will help in at least lessening it.”

To support young girls, their mothers and the community in general, CHAT, this last quarter reached a total of 35,504 individuals with holistic Family Planning using a PHE approach, in which a total of 13,539 women chose different usually longer term contraceptive methods.

 “The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s heading up to about nine billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, & reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.” Bill Gates

CHAT motor mobile outreach
CHAT motor mobile outreach
CHAT Camel mobile outreach
CHAT Camel mobile outreach
CHAT CORP & nurse providing FP & ecology
CHAT CORP & nurse providing FP & ecology
CHAT team led by Roselyne (CORP) in Nanyuki slums
CHAT team led by Roselyne (CORP) in Nanyuki slums

As we entered into this godforsaken slum compound we found two little girls playing with in a basin of dirty water.  Their mother was nearby was giving instructions to a local carpenter who was fixing their door that was an inch from falling apart. From the look of things it seemed that they did not have a male figure in the house.

“I am a single mum, that is why I am into prostitution. Feeding five children is not easy.” Leah* explained as she added that “After delivering my last set of twins, I did not want more children and since I have goiter I could not use any kind of hormonal method.”

I encouraged “him” we use condoms but he completely refused. One day after I came back from work (then I used to be known as Mama Safi - Mama Smart) I found my baby’s diaper tied in reverse and she seemed uncomfortable. When I checked what was wrong, I found that the guy - their own father - had raped her! I chased him away and decided to carry the burden of raising my children alone.”

Being Mama Safi was not enough and that is how she became a lady of the night. From her appearance one could not tell what Leah did or that she was HIV positive. To protect herself from pregnancy and from infecting other people she uses condoms. She proudly showed us her stash saying that these we the tools of her trade ‘Wengine wakitumia jembe - na computer mimi, natumia condoms. Zinanisaidia sana’ translates to “…others dig in the fields or use computers, I use condoms. They help me a lot”.

Leah did not know what other sure method she could use in order to protect herself from pregnancies. She was willing to but just that she could not help herself. Roselyn Mulonzya, a community own resource person (CORP) living in the Nanyuki slum, counseled Leah on the family planning methods & in particular the tube ligation (BTL) option – which Leah chose to go for. She reasoned that since she could not use the coil because of her trade she would go for a BTL since she was sure that she did not want more children.

“Many friends that I work with have the same predicament I wish they could come and learn from you, Roselyn. They all encounter difficulties with the men who do not want to use condoms. For my friends & I using a condom is about avoiding pregnancies but for the ignorant men it is protection from HIV. These women just want to feed their children, to avoid having more mouths to feed. I wish people could understand this.” She added.

Roselyn referred Leah to a clinic for the BTL since it cannot be provided by a visiting door to door CORP. Roselyn was going to be doing follow ups since she knows where she lives.

“With the interactions that I have been having with the women here I have learnt that they want to protect themselves and bring up their families with the little that they earn. The fp services go a long way in ensuring that they can do this with the worries of a unwanted pregnancy no longer looming over them.” Rose explained.

To support mothers like Leah and other underserved or forgotten communities in general, CHAT has in the last quarter, been able to reach a total of 33,769 individuals with Family Planning which includes a component of ecological awareness information, of these a total of 12,797 women chose actual different family planning methods, 2,636 patients treated for different conditions, 501 ante natal women were attended to and 821 children either immunized or referred for immunization services – all these working towards the sustainable development goals (SDG)

 

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Organization Information

Communities Health Africa Trust

Location: NANYUKI, LAIKIPIA REGION - Kenya
Website:
Project Leader:
SHARON WREFORD-SMITH
Nanyuki, Kenya
$20,365 raised of $35,000 goal
 
251 donations
$14,635 to go
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