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
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.

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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.
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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
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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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Loima the role model
Loima the role model

Today the motor- mobile clinic reached Bokish village, a remote village in Laikipia North sub-County whereby access to transport and communication is a challenge. The area seems like a lost village from the past. Children roam in the forest playing while also looking after goats and sheep. I get to understand that the mature men are the ones in-charge of herding cattle. An empty building stands as a school, but has no life going on – with neither teachers nor pupils.

We are welcomed by the village headman who is delighted about CHAT’s health workers who can help his clan members who have been experiencing health problems. The village had been informed before by CHAT’s partners, the CORPs prior to the team. After making camp for the clinic, the villagers start streaming in for services.

Lolima* who is 27 years old has six children - 4 girls and 2 boys. She got married off at a young age of sixteen by her stepmother, after her own mother died. She was in class 6 and would have liked to complete her education but her step-mother colluding with her father and decided to marry her off - so as access the bride price wealth for their family. She does not like the idea of adding more children to her already large family that include her husband and co-wives’ children. After having consulted the CORP who was mobilizing in the village the previous days, she came prepared to choose and receive the 5-year contraception protection implant. She does not involve her husband because the decision on the number of the children one has is for the happiness of the husband - and the idea of pausing child birth will not augur well with him. She tells that she will discuss this later with him, and she is tired so she better receive first.  She’s enthusiastic about it and believes that after receiving the implant she will become stronger since she has escaped the tiresomeness brought about by constant pregnancies; she will have more strength to complete her daily chores such as collecting fire wood, water, milking and looking after the children.

Jackline, who is a CORP partnering CHAT, tells her that not only will she  benefit from receiving the implant but her children as well as she will devote more time to taking care of them.  She will also be able to improve her wellbing and have time to engage in income generating activities if she chooses to. She’s so happy and tells CHAT that she will refer “others”

With your support (cost shared), within this past quarter under review, CHAT was able to reach a total of 25,347 individuals with Family Planning that encompassing ecological awareness information, of which a total of 86 ANC mothers were attended, 56 children immunised, 1,132 patients treated for different conditions and a total of 13,405 women chose and took different family planning methods.

“We're in business to relieve human suffering, to help feed the poor, to provide education and culture - but above all else, we're concerned with the relief of human suffering”-Jon Huntsman, Sr.

Taking health services to the needy is our passion
Taking health services to the needy is our passion
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Organization Information

Communities Health Africa Trust

Location: NANYUKI, LAIKIPIA REGION - Kenya
Website:
Project Leader:
SHARON WREFORD-SMITH
Nanyuki, Kenya
$29,179 raised of $100,000 goal
 
302 donations
$70,821 to go
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