Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services

by Communities Health Africa Trust
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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
Treatment during a motor mobile
Treatment during a motor mobile

*Their names have been changed

As the motor mobile team packed the vehicle at Longopito in June 2021, they kept wondering where Naitemwa* was. For about three years, she has always helped them set up camp and organize the clinic before people start arriving. It was not always like that with her, in fact, she always discouraged community members from visiting the clinic whenever they went to the village to provide services. She was totally against FP. Being the first wife to her husband she always said that all her other co-wives were required to have as many children like her or even more if possible. She did not expect them to be ‘lazy’. Though she had always known the husband would marry more wives, she was not ready for it thus decided to punish them and insight him to ensure they have many children.

The more the family grew the more suffering they went through. They could not provide for all the children let alone the whole family. They started sleeping hungry on most nights of the week and if they had any food, they never ate to their satisfaction. Naitemwa still never related the large family size to their suffering. She kept blaming the drought and bad times.

One day as CHAT’s CORP partner, Julius, was providing health education to a group of women he had mobilized near the motor mobile, someone gave him a cup of tea, another one offered to host him for lunch and Naitemwa was in disbelief! How could the other women afford to host someone where she knew they would be sleeping hungry that night? As she started to lament, Julius asked her how big was her family and she said 19, inclusive of her husband. She then went on to say that they all did not work and depended on their flock which was dwindling slowly and soon they would have nothing.

Julius explained to her that if she had a smaller family and had a small income-generating activity, it would be easier for them to manage their family. He told her that at the moment they should not increase their family size – rather, stabilize. From this understanding, Naitemu discussed with her husband and with all her co-wives; they each agreed and chose to receive the 5-year family planning implant contraception protection method. On top of that, they decided to sell two goats and start a business selling groceries in the surrounding markets.

From this, they now have a little food for all of them which was their greatest need. They have taken all their children to school. She always tells other women that were it not for Julius and CHAT’s Nurse, maybe they would have died of hunger. As of June 2021, she had helped 12 women change their minds and access services at CHAT’s motor mobile clinic.

Thanks to GG support in the past three months, CHAT was able to reach a total of 12,233 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information with 4,511 family planning clients receiving different contraception methods, of which 3,783 chose the long-term methods- 3/5-years protection against unwanted pregnancies.

"Reproductive health, sexual health, family planning, and autonomy and equality for women are not the fruits of development; they are not even the fertilizer—they are the tree itself." - Dr. Nafis Sadik

Sensitization by CORP on Family Planning & PHE
Sensitization by CORP on Family Planning & PHE
CHAT going to Nothern Kenya to give health service
CHAT going to Nothern Kenya to give health service
Degraded enviroment due to overuse of resourses
Degraded enviroment due to overuse of resourses
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CHAT CORP sensitizing Jambi on FP
CHAT CORP sensitizing Jambi on FP

There has always been an interplay between literature and reality according to Njambi*, a single mother of 5 children.

“My late grandmother shared a tale of a cow that had starved to death at a homestead only to later realize the rope had been consumed by termites. I used to relate this tale with my personal experience as all my five children are all from different fathers who abandoned me when I needed them most,” Njambi recalls.

“A solitary mind undergoing stress and suffering cannot even seek advice from her friends, as during such times you realize that you have no friends, with those you thought were your friends sitting on the fence watching as your drama unfold,” Njambi explains.

“I used to go for my casual work with two of my young children, one day as I was on my way back home from work, I stopped by the roadside to breastfeed my youngest child,” Njambi recalls. “I was in deep thought on what the kids would have for supper, and after some time I realized that there was a lady in a yellow T-shirt and a backpack, who was standing beside me. What came to my mind was that the lady was doing some GoK food distribution work for the needy, and I thanked my stars for I thought I was amongst the lucky beneficiaries,” Njambi further recalls.

Karimi’s (CHATs CORP) - side of the story had nothing to do with her immediate need at that moment, as soon as she saw the lady, it reminded her of her past life. She had once been a victim of men just like *Njambi was & still is. CHAT CORP introduced herself, and with time Njambi opened up and shared her story; this later opened doors for CORP to shed more light about her work – family planning  information and access to the service.

At first, Njambi was not ready for the idea, but after an in-depth discussion between the two, she understood the importance of planning the family not only for herself, but also for the benefit of all her 5 children and the community in-general. “Where have you been since I started suffering?” Njambi questioned Karimi as she became emotional.

While walking towards the closest health facility, with her wisdom, Karimi assisted with counseling on the fp methods available; so immediately on arrival Njambi decided and chose to have the IUCD (coil), with the HCW providing it instantly after carrying out the necessary tests.

“My memories for that time are bitter-sweet memories- bitter because still suffered, and sweet because I had a permanent solution. Plus, we have a single mother’s support group that meets on a monthly basis and I normally take advantage of those days to empower my fellow single mums on how to keep safe from unwanted pregnancies and they have responded positively to my messaging,” explains Njambi with a smile on her face.

“Njambi’s is not only a tale, but a true story as the community has witnessed her transformation,” CHAT’s CORP laments.

Thanks to GG support in the past three months, CHAT was able to reach a total of 12,217 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information with 4,467 family planning clients receiving different contraception methods, of which 3,562 chose the long-term methods- 3/5-years protection against unwanted pregnancies.

One of the major causes of poverty is a lack of family planning. Governments and non-profit organizations need to encourage poor people to use birth control so that they don't have unexpected babies, which will only make poorer families poorer.”- Philip Kotler
CHAT intergrated outreach- Hard to reach terrains
CHAT intergrated outreach- Hard to reach terrains
Njambi being sensitized on the different FP method
Njambi being sensitized on the different FP method
FP beneficiary showcasing CHATs work
FP beneficiary showcasing CHATs work
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Young girls happy after receiving FP implants
Young girls happy after receiving FP implants

Being evening and after such a busy day, Pauline (a community own resource person (CORPs) and partner of CHAT’s) has a lot running through her head - including family matters. Just before she crossed the road to the other side to get home, she felt a soft pat on her back, and looking back she noticed a young girl who was all smiles at her. She recalled her very fast and almost fell into an embrace with the girl, but then remembered that the pandemic dictates contrary and took a step back for a wave.

“Pauline, you are more than a mother to me, “said the girl, as she became really emotional about it - Pauline spotted tears flowing down her face- tears of joy. She smiled and comforted the young girl back to normalcy and told her “It is well, my daughter. Every challenge has a solution and in every hardship, there is always a way out.” The 15-year-old, who happens to be a class eight candidate in one of the neighboring primary schools, had a lot to thank Pauline for.

Pauline recalled how it cost courage and passion for the young girl to stand firm and bring a smile to her life after she had been through a lot at her tender age. She remembered what transpired when the schools were closed down indefinitely and learners were required to stay with their parents at their respective homes for an unknown duration of time. “I almost shed tears whenever I remember how this young girl sneaked into my house one evening and demanded that I should take her secretly to the dispensary to have contraception. At first, I was in shock as to why she was so insistent but understood after the girl opened up that she had eavesdropped on her father planning to give her out for marriage”.

Pauline narrated how the father succeeded in having the girl married in April. However, when schools resumed and especially their candidate class, the girl shared with her then new husband that she wanted to go back to school, an idea which the husband opposed, this decided for the young girl to escape a few days later. She ran to the area Chief who summoned the husband and the father. They were forced to let the girl resume her studies whilst the other family members, who supported her getting married, threatened her out of her home. It was then that Pauline, who has always been passionate about fellow women and especially young girls, talked with the management of a private school who agreed to educate and take care of the vulnerable girl.

“Were it not for your support in ensuring I have access to contraception, I would be in the national statistics of the girls who have dropped out of school due to unwanted pregnancies during this COVID-19 pandemic“ stated the girl who became emotional again.

Thanks to GG support in the past three months CHAT was able to reach a total of 4,982 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information with 1,523 family planning clients receiving different contraception methods, of which 1,222 chose the long-term methods giving 3 and 5-years protection against unwanted pregnancies =- & 22,315 condoms were distributed.

“We should be respectful but we must also have the courage to stop harmful practices that impoverish girls, women and their communities”.

Graca Machel, women and children’s rights activist.

 

Happy Holidays!

CHAT team sharing condoms to a young moran
CHAT team sharing condoms to a young moran
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*not their real names

As the team was closing up in the evening, they heard the sound of a motor bike coming towards them. They thought maybe it was the usual last person who always waited for everyone else to leave so that they could come for services. Once the rider came to a halt, they saw that he was carrying a child on his back. A young girl who looked visibly ill and weak. The man asked the team for help to put her down as he packed his motorbike. He desperately explained to the team that he had heard they were providing services and since his wife did not have any means to get to the clinic, she had waited ‘til he was back home to send the child for medication.

As the girl was being treated the man, Lokorii* said that his wife was all alone with the children in their manyatta. This prompted Julius the CORP to enquire how many children he has. Lokorii said that they have seven children. He was very proud when he was saying this. He even said that he wanted another wife so that he can have more children. CORP Julius was very shocked. He could not understand how a man with only a motorcycle as his only asset with no other source of income would want to increase his family even more than it already was - 7 children, wow!. Julius started reasoning with him by asking how he could provide enough food and education for all of them.

Without hesitation he said ‘Kila mtoto hukuja na sahani yake! (every child comes with their own provision). The children will grow. My father had 14 and we are all well so what could possibly stop mine?’ he asked Julius as he picked medicine for his daughter. Julius explained to him that if his father had less children maybe he would have gone to school and have a great job in the city. This made Lokori take pause. He started to understand what Julius was trying to explain. Julius went on to explain how a smaller family would ensure better nutrition and a better chance of having enough for the children he already has.

He then asked CORP Julius how he could ensure that the family would not grow. That is how he got to learn about family planning. Julius took his time to explain and since it was already dusk they agreed that first thing in the morning he would return to the clinic camp with his wife for FP. And they did!  CHAT”s Nurse Ann took them through the different methods of FP and they decided on the three year implant. ‘All we need is more knowledge spread to our people and they will make better choices!’ Julius said proudly

Outcomes: In the past three months, through your support CHAT was able to reach a total of 3,982 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information with 1,101 clients receiving different contraception methods, of which 934 chose the long-term methods giving 3 and 5-years protection against unwanted pregnancies & 21,615 condoms were distributed.

"It's long been accepted as fact that the availability of family planning services saves lives. Where women have access to these services, children and families are healthier, and society at large benefits"

Martha Plimpton.

 

                                                                                                                                                               

Sensitization during a motor mobile clinic
Sensitization during a motor mobile clinic
A thriving enviroment in CHAT operation area
A thriving enviroment in CHAT operation area
CHAT camel mobile clinic in a hard to reach area.
CHAT camel mobile clinic in a hard to reach area.
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CHAT Motor Mobile Clinic
CHAT Motor Mobile Clinic

*Not their real names

“With the state of tension due to the COVID 19 pandemic - people who do not know or understand what will happen to us.? There is insecurity in our area, we always are ready to move and if you have many children and you have to run for your safety, you might lose them I always encourage my community members to have the number of children that they can manage. It’s just endless problems for us.”  Eturen, CHAT Community Own Resource Person (CORP) partner explained. “We are now also experiencing locust invasion  - and being a community that highly depend on livestock, I do not know what will happen to us once our animals start dying due to hunger!” He continued.

“Ekwam* and his wife Ekarun* decided to go for the five-year implant after I sensitized them on family planning integrating a strong component ecological awareness. It is now a year since they started using the method and every time I pass by their manyatta they seem happier. They have experienced their first year ever in their marriage without pregnancy – this is proving a sense of enormous relief to them. They haven’t had the pressure of an ever-expanding family. I am happy that I was able to help.” He continued.

“We are poor. My husband does not have a job and neither do I. We solely depend on our livestock and with how things have been here at Marti, in northern Samburu I did not think I would survive for long. We always ate the same food, we never bought clothes for our children. They always were in tatters. We just were in bad shape.” Ekarun narrated. “I had never realized that our problem is our family size until Eturen explained it to us. I learn that since I have many mouths to feed, I had to struggle hard to provide for them and the more I added the children the higher the chances that I would not succeed. I have 8 children and that meant that if I added more we would not survive. I am happy that my husband understood the importance of using modern family planning contraception. We are adjusting. I hope we will end up being an example to the rest of the community once we are better off. I know we will be.” Ekarun finished.

 

 

In the past three months, through your support CHAT was able to reach a total of 2,481 individuals with behavior change communication (bcc) information with 1,089 clients receiving different FP methods of their choice of which 911 chose the long-term implant methods giving 3 – 5 years protection.  15,211 condoms were distributed.

 

"One of the major causes of poverty is a lack of family planning. Governments and nonprofit organizations need to encourage poor people to use birth control so that they don't have unexpected babies, which will only make poorer families poorer."

Philip Kotler

Community sensitization on FP and ecology.
Community sensitization on FP and ecology.
CHAT Camel mobile outreach departure
CHAT Camel mobile outreach departure
Family Planning and HIV Sensitization
Family Planning and HIV Sensitization
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Communities Health Africa Trust

Location: NANYUKI, LAIKIPIA REGION - Kenya
Website:
Project Leader:
SHARON WREFORD-SMITH
Nanyuki, Kenya
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