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'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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CHAT FPCORP Namusungu taking Namaiyan's BP
CHAT FPCORP Namusungu taking Namaiyan's BP

Namaiyan*, who hails from Arjijo , in the Mukogodo area in the Laikipia North sub county was 14 years old when she became pregnant. After birth, she confided to one of her trusted neighbours that at her age and being single, she did not want to have any more children because she is unable to feed the child she has – let alone trying to support any other children.

Namaiyan’s neighbour informed her that during the chief baraza, the area chief confirmed that a team of health providers accompanying a motor mobile clinic, had requested him to assist with the mobilization – and that they would be in the area within the month. Among the services that they will provide would be free family planning services – but tht here would be s small ‘token’ cost for the basic curatives.  Her neighbour promised to alert Namaiyan once the mobile team arrive.

On arrival of “CHAT’s” motor mobile health team in the area, the neighbour took Namaiyan to the camp site where the mobile clinic was set up. They were welcomed by the Family Planning Community Own Resource Person (CORPs)  called Namusungu, and after several hours of counselling on a range of choices of family planning methods, Namaiyan decided upon the five (5) years Implant as her FP method of choice. “I chose the (jadelle) Implant because it lasts for five (5) years. You cannot forget to take it like you can with the pills - this is a five (5) years guarantee,” says Namaiyan.

Namusungu shared a quote that an educated friend of hers found, and thought how appropriate it was to her situation.

“The quote by John O’Donohue: Anam Cara in the book of Celtic Wisdom goes something like this, “There is the solitude of suffering, when you go through darkness that is lonely, intense and terrible. Words become powerless to express your pain; what others hear from your words is so distant and different from what you are actually suffering, therefore let’s all double up! Use condoms and a highly effective birth control method to take charge of our reproductive health,” Namusungu lamented.

Via CHAT supported mobilizers like Namusungu, women like Namaiyan are transforming their lives through FP – being able to access contraceptives, she now has the choice to plan for the future.

”Expanding eligibility of FP services to low-income women will maximize cost-savings both for the community and government, thereby reducing the disparities in access to family planning services for low-income women and hence, decrease the incidence of abortion and infanticide in our communities,” FPCORP Namusungu confirms.

Namaiyan was lucky to receive professional FP advice. In many underserved communities, widespread myths about contraception mean that many women like Namaiyan don’t have the facts that they need to make informed choices, as we cannot confront the massive challenges of poverty, hunger, disease and environmental destruction unless we address issues of population and reproductive health; bearing in mind that, “each person we add now disproportionately impacts on the environmental and life- support systems of the planet,”- George W. Bush.

CHAT’s core intervention and focus is Population Health and Environment thereby providing free FP services to the marginalized communities in Kenya - as birth control in these times must lead ultimately to a balanced healthy environment. This quarter September – November 2016, thanks to your donations (cost shared’) CHAT reached 11,775 individuals with family planning/ ecological awareness information, of which a total of 1,137 patients were treated for different conditions & 6,474 women with different FP contraception methods of their choice in 10 counties in Kenya.

Namaiyan receiving FP services from CHAT nurse
Namaiyan receiving FP services from CHAT nurse
Beneficiaries cuing for health services- CHAT team
Beneficiaries cuing for health services- CHAT team
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Population control ensures healthy environment
Population control ensures healthy environment

Doris* is a 30 year old indigenous Samburu woman. Married at 16 years old as the first wife of a man from the younger generation of elders, she now has seven (7) children. Even with her best efforts, most of them suffer from nutritional deficiencies because of the prolonged drought. Her husband does not support her with the children, yet he does not want her to stop giving birth, since having more children increases the status of the man in the Samburu culture and provides support with livestock management. Doris met CHAT FPCORP Susan who informed her about the short and long-term contraceptive methods available at CHAT’s mobile outreaches and also at government of Kenya health facilities. Early that morning, while CHAT’s motor mobile had set up the clinic in Neloroi, Doris showed up, carrying her last born – a 9 month-old baby – on her back and accompanied by a neighbour from the same manyatta.

CHAT nurse Pauline welcomed Doris and discussed the contraceptive method that would be best for her. Doris, however, had already made her decision and chosen the 3-year implant after a length discussion with Susan who gave thorough information on various choices of family planning options “After 7 children, I am tired of getting pregnant and of struggling to feed more mouths,” Doris narrates. She asked the nurse to insert 3yrs implant –method of her choice before the Samburu elders hanging around the clinic takes larm. This highlights that the stigma attached to women’s fertility desires when different from the male fertility ideals is still out in this remote Samburu community.

“For the whole of my life, I have never heard about anything like FP contraception, but am among the lucky few in my community who have benefitted, I wish I was able to gain this big information earlier, anyway will educate my children in future, especially considering that the only health facility closer is approximately. 35 KMs away,” Doris lamented.

Hence, she was extremely happy with the services provided at CHAT’s motor mobile clinic as Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall quoted, If we don’t halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity- and will leave a ravaged world.”

This quarter June- August 2016, thanks to your donations (cost shared) CHAT reached 13,335 individuals with family planning/ ecological awareness information, of which a total of 1,237 patients were treated for different conditions & 6,855 women with different FP contraception methods of their choice in 10 excluded counties in Kenya.

As CHAT, we focus on controlling the population to ensure the survival of the environment, instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population.

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FP champion receiving services from CHAT nurse
FP champion receiving services from CHAT nurse

Naisherua* is a 29 years old lady and a mother of seven (7) children, with the youngest being one and a half years old. She lives in Lorubai and had to walk for hours to meet CHAT team to get family planning as she doesn’t want any more children.

“I am the third wife and though my husband is always there, he recently married a young lady and doesn’t provide for the family. He said that he had to marry as he can’t walk with me since I look older than him, although in reality, am fifteen years younger. I am a class three dropout as I was forced by my father to get married so that he could have more wealth and now here I am with nothing but the burden of providing for that old full and his children with the little I get from selling goats milk.” Naisherua narrates. I have come to for family planning services after Nteiyan (CHAT’s FPCORP) came to our manyatta and informed provided us with information on the different FP methods they are offering and how they work, as am scared of having any more children. She further confirms that it’s her first time to use family planning as she have been hearing that the the family planning methods provided have negative effect to human body, but then Nteiyan has counseled her and now want to try whichever will suit her best. CHAT nurse further counseled her and Naisherua chosen to get the 5 year implant.

“Most of women within my manyatta are as young as 13 years and have at least 3-4 kids and are still giving birth, I have accepted to try and use the five years FP method and I want to be one of the champions of family planning especially that I have 5 girls. I am trying my best to provide for them especially I am ensuring that they will have better education than I did and for those who will be married, I will ensure that they have information on Family planning so that they don’t undergo the same punishment as mine.” Naisherua further explains. “I am thankful to CHAT and the donors who have made it possible for my community and I to receive these precious services,” Naisherua smiles as she heads back home.

Between Mar-May 2016, thanks to your donations- which contributed to helping CHAT reach 16,207 individuals with family planning/ ecological awareness information and a total of 8,328 women with different FP contraception methods of their choice.

“Contraceptives unlock one of the most dormant, but potentially powerful assets in development: women as decision-makers. When women have the power to make choices about their families, they tend to decide precisely what demographers, economists, and development experts recommend. They invest in the long-term human capital of their families,” – Melinda Gates, Co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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Organization Information

Communities Health Africa Trust

Location: NANYUKI, LAIKIPIA REGION - Kenya
Website:
Project Leader:
SHARON WREFORD-SMITH
Nanyuki, Kenya
$33,080 raised of $100,000 goal
 
325 donations
$66,920 to go
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