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)