Grace and her baby
Malaria is the number one cause of illness in children in Kenya. In the fight against malaria in rural Kenya, the needs are great but the solutions are simple. With inexpensive resources such as test kits, microscopes, and mosquito nets, HealthRight’s project saves hundreds of children’s lives every year.
HealthRight works to reduce the impact of malaria in 21 communities in the rural areas of the North Rift Valley of Kenya. In these communities, the project serves over 750,000 people who suffer frequently from the devastating effects of malaria including death. HealthRight projects work to provide equal access to crucial health resources such as education, tests and medicines in these excluded communities which suffer from poverty, lack of education, failing health facilities, discrimination, and isolation.
HealthRight achieves this impact by working at the community level and in the health facilities.
Strengthening Communities and Families:
HealthRight’s Malaria project in Kenya focuses on improving knowledge in communities about malaria prevention and treatment. To achieve this, HealthRight works with 1,050 community health workers and ten local community organizations. HealthRight provides these partners with training and material support to work in their communities raising awareness and encouraging healthy behaviors that can reduce the impact of malaria. The local organizations received small grants to organize malaria community events and campaigns. HealthRight hired a temporary mentor to help the local organizations develop their plans and submit proposals for their work.
In the past three months, HealthRight’s project has provided information about malaria to over 6,780 people in the communities by organizing events in schools, churches and community markets. In addition, 17,900 people have been tested for malaria in the 21 health centers where HealthRight works. And, over 18,000 people have received the life saving medicines to treat the illness.
In addition, the Community Health Workers visit families once every three months to answer health questions and to make referrals to the health facilities for malaria testing and treatment. Below is a table showing the number of home visits that have been made each month for the past two years. Over three months, 17,747 home visits have been made. The project is steadily aiming to achieve 7,000 home visits per month – or 21,000 every three months.
Strengthening Health Facilities and Clinics:
In April, with support from Global Giving, HealthRight provided new microscopes to six health facilities. These microscopes, which are necessary in order to diagnose malaria, work with electricity or with regular sunlight when electricity isn’t available. The six microscopes will be of great help in these very remote facilities.
Each month, the HealthRight project organizes and supports ten outreach clinics in remote villages. These outreach clinics offer health services out in the communities to those families that can’t easily get to the health facilities to see a doctor. In the past three months, 1,800 community members were treated through one of the outreach clinics.
Mosquito Net Distributions:
This quarter, HealthRight was responsible for transporting 5,200 LLITNs to remote health facilities in four of the five districts. Although supply of nets has been limited in the past six months due to a national-level shortage, facilities are reporting that demand for them has increased, which is a good indication that the community messages are making a difference.
Community health workers collect information about the use of mosquito nets during their household visits. While use among children has remained steady, the community health workers are measuring a positive trend in the percentage of pregnant women that are sleeping under the nets. This is a good indication that prevention messages are leading to a change in behaviors.
HealthRight is still waiting for additional funding from Global Giving supporters so that we can expand upon the “Malaria Free Community” initiative. The priority needs that have been identified include training for health facility staff on the Treatment of Severe Malaria and a supply of 5,000 rapid diagnostic tests to the health facilities to improve diagnosis before the onset of the high malaria season.
Community Health Workers in Kenya