Project #14468

Reduce Suffering in Kenya Via Health Care Services

by Communities Health Africa Trust
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.

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

Mwikali receiving 5 yrs. implant from CHAT
Mwikali receiving 5 yrs. implant from CHAT's nurse

Mwikali* a Form 4 dropout due to an unplanned pregnancy. Amanya* is a school dropout due to financial problems in her family. Both are from the same village.

Mwikali was visibly upset about having to drop out from her academic pursuits, and had grudgingly made her way to the clinic. She was more than hesitant to let the nurse come anywhere near her with options of FP methods - she carried herself with an air of defeat, despite her resolution to return to school once the child was older.

“The father of my child was a high school student and continues with his studies, and here I am having to take care of the baby. He won’t marry me, let alone bother to take care of his child, and instead will marry another learned lady like him,” Mwikali confessed. Her mother had insisted on Mwikali getting an implant though, and while maybe not ideal for Mwikali* – she appeared to know her mother was right.

Amanya had also arrived hours before Mwikali, to bring her little brother to the clinic for treatment of a lung infection and worm infestation. Despite having already seen the nurse, Amanya and her brother ‘hung’ around afterwards. Amanya watched closely as the nurse prepared clients with local anesthetic before administering the implant methods; one client was Mwikali and whilst writhing about in her chair, it suddenly became clear that she was more afraid of the actual insertion, than the ‘contraceptive’ itself.

Amanya had been listening to Mwikali’s story and without deliberating for even a moment, she rang her mother to get permission to receive FP services, but her mother refused. Ann (CHAT’s nurse), then briefly spoke with the mother and suggested that she visit the local clinic together with her daughter so that they could learn about family planning options together. Amanya wasn’t swayed though, not after learning of Mwikali’s hardships.
By the time Mwikali had relaxed enough for the implant to be administered, Amanya was already completing step one of the process - the pregnancy test, and was calm as she handed over the urine for the nurse to process. Mwikali was now through - and Amanya quickly sidled into the spot and eagerly offered Nurse Ann her arm, requested for an implant method!

“The implant took less than five minutes to insert and now I am ‘set’ for the next three years against the unsettling thought of finding myself with an unplanned pregnancy!” Amanya was jubilant.
Mwikali chose the five year implant method - her mother also jubilant.

CHAT aims to diminish the occurrence of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, empowering women with education/information and access to family planning options as Guttmacher research institute, research paper 2014 series no. 2 quoted,
“Empowering a woman in poverty has to begin with access to contraception protection against unwanted pregnancies”

While this holistic family planning service may have reached Mwikali too late, there is still hope for her to return to school someday, as long as her family doesn’t grow beyond the means for which she is capable of providing.
And if, by some chance, Amanya happens to get the opportunity to return to school, nothing should impede her from doing so. Much like the many women that have visited the clinic prior to their arrival, these two young women left with brighter options to secure their futures and pursue their dreams.

Amanya receiving 3yrs. Implants from CHAT nurse
Amanya receiving 3yrs. Implants from CHAT nurse
Empowering myself
Empowering myself

Wangui* lives in a slum surrounding Nanyuki in Laikipia County, Kenya was 20 years old when she became pregnant. After birth, she confided to a neighbor that she didn’t want to have another baby too close to the birth of her first child. Wangui’s neighbor , Rose Mulonzi, who is a community own resource person (CORPs) that partners with CHAT by mobilizing for their family planning services - informed Wambui about CHAT’s mobile health service which focus on providing poor and forgotten communities with access to family planning services. When the clinic’s yellow Land-rover eventually arrived at Wangui’s very humble shelter in this part of the slum, Wangui was visited by Nurse Ann Mwinzi, who works with CHAT’s motor mobile clinic. Having been counseled on a range of family planning methods Wangui decided upon choosing the 5 year contraceptive protection Implant method. “I chose this method because it lasts for 5 years,” Says Wangui. “You can’t forget to take it like you can with the pill -this is five years guarantee protection! Against unwanted pregnancies.” She adds. Through CHAT, women like Wangui are transforming their lives by accessing family planning services. With access to contraceptives she now has the choice to plan for the future and at long last is feeling ‘empowered’ to begin planning her future. “This is what and where, how do they say – “womens empowerment” begins – I have a considerably more ‘power’ to now control a little my future and plan for it.. Wait until I share this with my friends and relations who are and have gone through horrible suffering – unskilled abortions, infanticide, school girl pregnancies - haaa, please, wait let me go and call them….” “It would be the end of the world - a world of hopelessness & ever deepening poverty if I didn’t have this service,” she says, beaming when she returned with some friends. Wangui was lucky to receive professional family planning advice. In many slum communities, widespread myths about contraceptives mean that many women like Wangui don’t have the facts they need to make informed choices. CHAT’s grassroots partner, Rose shared this most apt and very real quote with Wangui, by a UNICEF director, William G. Hollingsworth: “Family Planning could bring more benefits to more people at less cost than any other single technology now available to the human race”. In this quarter, a total of 22,345 individuals were reached with Family Planning/ ecological awareness services, out of which 8,657 women were provided with different family planning methods of their choice.

FPCORP providing FP/ecological sensitization
FPCORP providing FP/ecological sensitization

Susan is a dynamic community minded woman and has been partnering with CHAT as a family planning mobiliser for over ten years. Born and brought up in a remote Samburu community, Lodonokwe, and a mother of four children, she goes on to add “When I met CHAT then, I was not aware of family planning (FP) as I was born and brought up in a “Catholic environment”. CHAT provided me with access to an innovative FP training containing a strong component of ecological awareness – this was facilitated by another partner of CHAT’s, the GoK – so, together with about 14 other mobilizers from 7 different counties I was introduced to FP services. I tried for myself using Depo-Provera - an injectable contraceptive protection method that provides 3 months protection, for the first few months before changing to a long term method, a 5 year Implants; the benefits of this for me as a Samburu women was profound – henceforth, I became eager to educate other women in the neighboring communities and sub-counties about these methods”.
To meet her targets Susan is guided by the performance based MOU she has with CHAT, she has a schedule to visit the communities she serves, and an activity guide. “After meeting with the locum nurse to make a plan for the nurse to assist with the technical work, I visit the communities to mobilize about fp/ecological awareness and TB.”
I live and work in a usually hot, dry environment that is experiencing an alarmingly rate of land degradation. “ I see no more grassland – just dust and stones due to our overstocking - water shortages are being experienced today more than ever before”. Susan will trek through this to reach these communities, many of whom still practice a very traditional nomadic life styles. Some of these practices are harmful, especially to a girl or woman “My tribe experience many unwanted pregnancies that often result in harmful abortions, and many are even desperate enough to commit infanticide – however, I KNOW, that if my people could access contraception, this horrific suffering can end….our whole quality of life would begin to change for the better - and I am eager to inform others that there is a ‘ choice’ – they do not have to bare all this suffering….but many of us poor and marginalised Kenyans still are challenged with not having access to FP services”.

With access to FP which is enriched with environmental sustainability knowledge being the major drive towards a health community, Susan creates awareness of the importance of a sustainable population - also explaining about the positive improved impact to their ecosystems as a result -emphasis is put on how each species needs the other for peaceful co-existence. “Lack of information is harmful if a community is to strive to be healthy - if our ecosystems are not in harmony, are not well taken care of, our economy will become increasingly poorer and hence, my community will continue suffering,” she explains.
She lamented, “the need of my people to plan their families in accordance to their available natural resources is urgent - such as manage our land back to being grasslands – no longer accept a future of dust bowls, our dry river beds to trickling streams, our eroded mountainsides to forested slopes – I dream and pray for us to return – of a sustainable life – accessing FP services provides the foundation to this recovery – without this basis we will just continue to destroy ourselves and all around us”

A typical traditional Samburu manyatta
A typical traditional Samburu manyatta

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Organization Information

Communities Health Africa Trust

Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
CHAT Volunteers
Nanyuki, Kenya
$6,187 raised of $10,000 goal
130 donations
$3,813 to go
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