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
Saving Life is our passion
Saving Life is our passion

CHATs motor mobile clinic visited Bokish community in Mukogondo, North Laikipia, Kenya to offer medical services, because the nearest facility is over 30 Kms away - up and through the  Mukogondo hilly forest, which has some of the worst driving terrain in Laikipia County - (one can only drive down the cliff with an off road car – a Land Rover or Land Cruiser - but not any other car). The indigenous forest harbors hunters and gatherers, with a few pastoralists that migrated from other areas. It is so dry at this time of the year; and overstocking compounded by over population and poverty is the cause of overwhelming degradation of the environment.

“During CHATs outreach visit to this desperate traditional, conservative community, the majority of the community visited the clinic to receive different health services -  and I being a Pastor and mobiliser, realized that it was my duty to ‘bring light’ to this marginalised community” CHATs CORP partner, Parare, narrates. It’s during a ‘Lemojong’- a Maa  traditional singing and dancing event held at night by the young beaded girls, that Parare  met Nabolo*- a beauteous beaded girl.

“I can see that you are a Pastor & health mobiliser. I have been listening to your ‘preachings’ but realized that the youth in this community have been brainwashed by tradition;  in fact you won’t believe that most of these young innocent-looking girls (barely 15 years old), have two or more boyfriends and have broken their virginity in the name of attending such events,” Parare recalls Nabolo’s comments. After an in-depth discussion between the two, Parare realized that these innocent young ladies just practiced what they traditionally knew; Nabolo could not give any risks associated with their actions – she was just doing what she learnt from her peers.

“I have noticed that the information about integrating Population, Health & Environment (PHE) as a component within the FP is not for my ears alone as most of us, including the community, must work together to organize a big meeting at the village square during one of the ‘Chekuti or Gumbaro skul’- a kind of schooling for beaded girls, morans (young warriors) & elderly, who have never attended elementary school,” Nabolo explained.

“CHAT management organized for the motor mobile clinic as an opportunity to provide choices to this vulnerable community choosing between ‘ill’ culture and, to my surprise on that particular day, the mobile clinic turned the whole event into celebrations aand many community members visited the clinic to receive fp health services instead of their usual classes,” Nabolo narrates.

“I noted that majority of these young girls and morans had STIs, with a few bold young beaded girls confirming that they have had several unsafe abortions traditional using herbs they prepare locally,” CHATs Nurse Ntinyari explains. “I wish I had met this team on time as at my age, I have already had an abortion as I was not sure of the moran responsible for my ordeal, but at least you have been here and I gained much from all of you, and I will ensure that the many generations yet to come will never undergo the same experience as mine. Three years implant is my ‘life saver’ now and will always work closely with you, Pastor,in spreading the news,” an amazed Nabolo laments. 

“I can attest that I being a Pastor and a CORP will not only provide health information, but also spiritual nourishment to this community as family planning goes hand in hand with religion as birth control is an important moral choice - motherhood is a choice not a requirement,” CORP & Pastor Parare then waved farewell to the community

With your support (cost shared) in the quarter under review, CHAT has in  been able to reach a total of 19,734 individuals with Family Planning encompassing ecological awareness information of which, a total of 71 ANC mothers were attended, 85 children immunised, 1,047 patients treated for different conditions and a total of 8,685 women chose and took different family planning methods.

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Fatuma providing sensitisation at Isiolo MCH
Fatuma providing sensitisation at Isiolo MCH

“Yei, I got it, I got it!!” sighed Halima* with joy at receiving a 3 years contraception protection method of family planning (FP), and having called Fatuma*- CHAT’s partner and a Family Planning Community Own Resource Person (FPCORP) to report on the good news.

“My husband has finally accepted and I have visited Eremeti dispensary for my implant” Said Halima with uncontrollable tears of joy.

Halima’s husband, Muhusin*, is a Madrisa teacher (one who teaches on Muslim doctrine), but with Fatuma’s household health education that includes a strong referral system, Muhusin had become an ‘enlightened’ man and allowed his wife to visit the Eremeti health facility to access family planning services.

This Muslim community has very rigid religious belief.  Women in this particular setting have very little or no say - their husbands making most of the decisions on their behalf.

It has been a challenging journey requiring enormous amounts sensitization sessions & patience breaking into these strong religious communities - but CHAT in collaboration with members of the community and the Kenya Government - ministry of health (MOH)  identified Fatuma, a wife to the Mullah ( senior religious leader in a Mosque) to facilitate the gentle penetration to these relatively deeply religious communities.

CHAT’s support to  Fatuma’s important work, has been well received - echoed by the Kenyan government, the MOH , where Muslim women’s accessibility to fp services have increased tremendously from approximately 5%  in 2014, to approximately 25% by October 2017.

Before Muslim women would not even walk to the health facility to seek for any health-related services without their husband’s consent -  let alone seek FP services - which is still a controversial issue within the Muslim faith.

However, Fatuma by using CHAT’s innovative a door to door mobilization method of sensitization using a back packing strategy, most of these stringent cultural and religious barriers are slowly fading, paving a way for women to freely walk to the health facilities and seek for health care services – and most with a major focus on seeking for  FP services!

This was pointed out during a field visit by CHAT’s Project officer to facilities around Isiolo Town - by the GoK Medical Officer who commented that - “This county is very much impressed by the work done by Fatuma, the FPCORP that you are supporting - her mobilizing, counseling and referring within this very stigmatized group (Muslim women) about FP services” said Dr. Kiluva, the Medical Superintended Officer.  “Were it not for the effort of Fatuma, the hospital would be reporting very poorly in these family planning/ Reproductive health key indicators,” he added.

“Fatuma’s contribution is highly felt in both Maternal Child Health and FP departments, where she is referring an average of 30 - 45 FP clients for long term contraception methods, and 15- 20  for short term contraception methods,  on a monthly bases respectfully,”  noted Miss Halake –  Isiolo County Gok MoH Nursing Officer  & Reproductive Health Coordinator.

In the quarter under review, thanks to your donations- that contributed to helping CHAT reach 19,141 individuals with family planning/ ecological awareness information out of which 6,638 clients were able to access different FP contraception methods of their choice & 1,228 patients treated for different conditions.

“Woman has always been the chief sufferer under this merciless machinery of the statutory law. Humbly she has borne the weight of man-made laws, surrendering to their tyranny even her right over her own body.... Against the State, against religion, against the silence of the medical profession, against the whole machinery of dead institutions of the past, the woman of today arises.... If she must break the law to establish her right to voluntary motherhood, then the law shall be broken. ~Margaret Sanger, "Shall We Break This Law?" in The Birth Control Review, February 1917  [Referring to the Comstock Act. —tε¡·g]

Halima (FP beneficiary), beating against all odds
Halima (FP beneficiary), beating against all odds
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Gatwiri receiving services via door to door nurse
Gatwiri receiving services via door to door nurse

At the foot of Mt Kenya, Gatwiri,* is a 14 year old girl living in a Nanyuki town slum called Likii, since 2012

“I came to work for my aunt as a maid, earning a meager salary of Kes 1000/- a month (USD $ 10). It was rigorous and back-breaking work.

When my aunt approached me to accompany her to Nanyuki, I naively imagined that life would be rosy; but was soon puzzled as to why my ‘dear auntie’ began treating me the way she did after I complained to her about the enormous workload. My aunt, annoyed, then beat me unconscious, locking me in a room for two days without food/water.

I managed to run away to a friend who ‘worked’ in Nanyuki’s 'red light’ street.

Another chapter opened - I am now a prostitute!” Gatwiri smiled to an astonished CHAT nurse.

Gatwiri’s friend introduced her to a new life of “money without sweat”’ as she put it - a life where she makes money effortlessly, sometimes as much, or even more than what she was earning per month - in just one night!

“What with the big spending foreign soldiers and our own army soldiers, who number in thousands - and not forgetting that Nanyuki is a popular tourist destination - all good for ‘businesses! And provides me with a much needed refuge away from that cruel harridan of an aunt!”

“I have perfected the art of prostitution. Sex work’ is my permanent source of income - affording my own rent in the neighboring Majengo slum.

I was a timid innocent girl, but currently I am now a hardened night lady who not only will sell sex, but also indulge in drug abuse - and I have also terminated several pregnancies,” Gatwiri comments.

“This way of life brings with it challenges such as being used without payment for my services by ‘macho men’ - being raped and dumped, often mostly late at night; being assaulted, or arrested for loitering by security personnel whose main motive is often to extort money from me, or give them free sex – sometimes in gangs!  Nonetheless, there seems to be no turning back as much as I want to. I don’t have another way of making money – and anyway, I feel like society would not accept me back to allow me to lead a normal life,” she says.

“I can attest that Gatwiri detests being what she is today. She never dreamed she would end up like this – selling sex;  but she does manage to feed, clothe herself and pay for her one shack ” CHAT's mobiliser, Rosie, confirms.

“I learnt about CHAT services from a friend” says Gatwiri, “Out of curiosity, I visited Rosie, when she counseled me about the different FP options I realized a sense of freedom!

Rosie discussed risk factors associated with my lifestyle – STIs and HIV/AIDS. I thank God that I had not contracted HIV /AIDS (as far as I know) which my peers and I in this business regard so casually - that AIDS is “just another accident” but is actually serious concern causing fear and dread,” Gatwiri laments.

And hey, this might surprise you but I am getting married and will invite CHAT team for my wedding - I feel I am  here today because  they opened my eyes so much -I really appreciate the knowledge and sensitivity they shared with me,” Gatwiri smiles as she leaves the clinic.

CHAT reached 15,938 individuals with fp/ecological awareness information, of which a total of 1,609 patients were treated for different conditions; 7,448 women chose different FP contraception methods in 10 counties where CHAT operates in the last three(3) months.

Did you know Kenya has the highest unskilled abortion rate (46%) worldwide.

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CHAT's INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES
CHAT's INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES

CHAT had a wonderful surprise when were given a grant from GlobalGiving (GG ) in January 2017 totaling £15000

With this grant CHAT’s priority is to reach underserved marginalized and in this case ‘forgotten’ peoples in Tharaka Nithi County - one of the smallest counties in Kenya, located from the eastern slopes of Mt Kenya and stretching down through a semi-arid environment to the Tana River. (A county infamous for endless health worker strikes resulting in desperate suffering!). CHAT implemented a 11 days motor mobile clinic to provide integrate services, focusing on providing access to family planning (FP) services whilst using a Population Health and Environment (PHE) approach. CHAT also provided Basic Curative treatment.

 Consisting of 1 nurse and 1 driver who camped out, the team worked alongside 3 community own resource persons (CORPs) who went ahead providing door to door mobilization  including FP/ecological awareness and sensitization., referring them to the mobile clinic where necessary.

An overwhelming demand for FP contraception was proven when the clinic began receiving clients that were risking their lives crossing a swelling Tana River - from neighboring sub county Mwingi North in Kitui county.

CHAT’s small team with only one nurse was able to reach:

  • 859 individuals mobilized and sensitized on fp encompassing ecological information
  • 577 women clients received different FP contraception methods of their choice - the most popular being long acting contraception where 355 implants inserted.
  • 101 patients treated for different conditions including but not limited to UTI, arthritis, URTI and diarrhea.
  • Although it was school holidays, CHAT also distributed 200 reusable sanitary towels made and donated from Canada.

Conclusively the above achievements were leaving many individuals – especially women - with an unmet need for FP contraception and desperate for other medical treatment.

The county reports a high percentage of unmet needs for family planning - 52% according to a survey done by the county in 2013; but CHAT believes this is higher – going from their own experience.

With the remaining funds which is £8198 - CHAT continues to supporting the work of 3 Back Pack CORPS to do their door to door FP/ecological awareness sensitization until July 2017 – and when the situation is safer CHAT plans to implement a 3 week camel mobile – possibly in September17. This is Kenya’s ‘election year’ which can experience explosive dynamics in many parts of the country – so CHAT tries to plan around these.

CASE STORY

“Being married at 12 years old in 2013 and now with 5 children, I wish I had known about and been able to access FP years ago. Actually, am from Kinna area and my children and I settled here 3 years ago seeking refuge, after the Borana community raided our homestead killing some of my neighbors and leaving many of my friends wounded, including my husband who is currently in a wheelchair as a result of being cut by machetes. Here I am today with nothing but pain - I don’t know who to turn to, or where to go,” Gacheri* narrates.

“I met with Makena while she was mobilizing for FP services and decided to visit the clinic to enquire further. I believe that with access to the sort of information Makena is sharing can mend so much of our suffering,” Gacheri explains - hopefully to the nurse. 

The nurse counseled her about the different FP methods - after some more tests the nurse noted that the any contraception method would be suitable for her and she opted for the three yrs. Implants as her FP method of choice.

“During famine, we experience weakness & some lives lost & orphaned. Organizations bring support especially food, but they don’t realized the root cause of our problem. Accessible FP provides a solution - thank you, ‘yellow team’, for this life saving opportunity! I believe by embracing FP maybe we will improve on conserving the environment with our children having a chance to a better life!” Gacheri lamented.

“It’s proven that when contraception use increases, countries will have higher economic growth, less dependent on foreign aid, more girls continue their education, become more stable, secure and have less gender inequality” CHAT nurse, Sarah, explained waving to the community as the motor mobile departed.

The communities especially requested we convey their enormous gratitude to the donor.

 

CHAT Team distributing reusable sanitary towels
CHAT Team distributing reusable sanitary towels
PHE Strategy Approach
PHE Strategy Approach
CHAT Nurse providing FP services to Makena
CHAT Nurse providing FP services to Makena
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Njoki* receiving services from CHAT nurse in 2015
Njoki* receiving services from CHAT nurse in 2015

It had been a busy morning for Nurse Pauline and Driver Peter (who assists Pauline with registering the patients and clients). They were under a large gum tree near the small poor village of Karionga, about 12 kms from Nanyuki town.

Pauline had noticed some very smart cars drive past, then park about 300 yards away outside a humble “shelter” – one could hardly describe it as anything else.

 At the time Pauline was providing Wangari* with FP services. Making casual conversation, Pauline asked her client, “What are those smart cars doing parking outside that dwelling?”

Wangari hung her head and said,”Those are politicians - they have come for  Njoki’s*– ow.”

“Oh!,” said Pauline, “she must be a fortunate woman having such wealthy ‘friends’.

“No No she has ‘passed’ – she died this morning together with her babies…. her story is very sad,” Wangari with angry tears starts to tell Nurse Pauline about Njoki’s tragic story.

“Njoki was a 32 year old married mother of 4 children, the youngest being only months old and the eldest 14. Back in 2015 Njoki had visited CHAT motor mobile clinic seeking FP services - she opted for a 5 year implant method of contraception. 1 years later, her husband  - who worked as a casual laborer at a nearby flower farm and was the sole breadwinner - pressured her to have more children, so trusting him; she went ahead and had another – after removing the implant. Njoki’s husband, on hearing the news, immediately vanished into thin air and has never been traced to this day! But Njoki never lost hope that her husband would return and therefore decided to keep the pregnancy. Months passed, the child was born – but no husband - nowhere to be found,” Wangari narrates.

“As her close friend, Njoki called me to her house (which is that over there with the now smart cars outside) and confided to me that she had tested to be HIV positive during her antenatal clinic; but she remained in denial, refusing to be put on treatment. She felt like she had no reason to live - the world had shown its cruelty to her and her children, she also felt a disgrace to her children, womanhood and community Oh why was she so naïve, to just be turned into “waste” by the man she had trusted with her life,” Njoki further explains.

“I wish I could swallow back all these children - back into my stomach and die as a family, because it’s easy to add, but difficult to maintain,” Wangari recalls Njoki’s last words.

“Look at me” says Wangari, “Despite having three children - all from different fathers - at-least, thanks to you (CHAT outreach team) I receive family planning services.

I received FP the same day as Njoki back then, but for her she decided to trust that ‘useless husband of hers’ without thinking critically and now look - ending her life and her own flesh and blood in such a painful way- drowning one in the tank of water, strangling another to death, before hanging herself from that tree.

And now these smart cars are using this tragedy by making a ‘show’ of caring – blah”

Nurse Pauline and Peter packed the vehicle and went home in shocked silence.

This quarter, December 2016 – February 2017, thanks to your donations (cost shared’) CHAT reached 10,803 individuals with family planning/ ecological awareness information, of which a total of 1,015 patients were treated for different conditions & 6,345 women with different FP contraception methods of their choice in 10 counties in Kenya.

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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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Account: GG14468

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