Ensuring Health Care for All in Kenya

Ensuring Health Care for All in Kenya

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Universal Health Care (UHC) is aimed at ensuring that all people are able to receive medicine and treatment without suffering financial hardships. Kenya is working to implement this healthcare strategy, with the goal of allowing more Kenyans access to healthcare in public health facilities. Additionally, Kenyans will be able to access the same services in private hospitals without digging very deep into their pockets. Despite this bold move by the Kenyan President to create affordable healthcare for all, human resources, finance, essential medical products, technologies and service delivery remain challenges. The story of a woman under the alias of “Dorothy” exemplifies the financial challenge in assessing care at treatment sites. Dorothy was enrolled in a study looking at integrating HPV testing into community health campaigns, and was ultimately referred to a selected health facility in Kisumu where she was booked for treatment. After she received treatment, she further was referred for biopsy testing. But,...
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Notes from the Field: Dissemination Meeting for a Community Health Volunteer Study

Notes from the Field: Dissemination Meeting for a Community Health Volunteer Study

The Center for Global Reproductive Health's Research Coordinator, Yujung Choi, and I held a dissemination meeting on October 19th to share the findings from one of our studies. The study describes the characteristics, motivations, and experiences of community health volunteers (CHVs) in Kisumu county, and looks to understand CHV knowledge and self-efficacy of reproductive health counseling and services. The purpose of the meeting was to share the study outcomes with key stakeholders and elicit feedback in order to inform future interventions to measure CHV performance and increase CHV retention rates. Among those who attended the meeting were CHV supervisors who had participated in the study, Sub-County Community Health Strategy Focal Persons, a former study staff, and a Program Officer from the NGO Community Initiatives Concerns. We summarized the study findings on various topics, including: -CHVs’ reasons for becoming CHVs -CHV level of comfort in teaching health topics such as family planning -child care and nutrition -HIV, malaria, and cervical cancer -challenges in carrying out daily tasks -relationship...
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TEEN PREGNANCY IN KENYA

TEEN PREGNANCY IN KENYA

A United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) report in Kenya shows 378,397 adolescent and teenage pregnancies for girls ages 10-19 between July 2016 and June this year. More specifically, there were 28,932 girls ages 10-14 and 349,465 girls ages 15-19 who became pregnant. The counties with the highest number of teenage pregnancies begin with Narok, where 40 per cent of its teenagers became pregnant. The list goes on to include the counties Homa Bay at 33 per cent, West Pokot at 29 per cent, Tana River at 28 per cent, Nyamira at 28 per cent, Samburu at 26 per cent, and Migori and Kwale both at 24 per cent. Teenage pregnancies have been linked to poverty. Many people believe girls in poverty engage in “transitional” sex to meet basic needs. Others blame “absentee parents” or a lack of parental guidance and exposure to information on the Internet - both which can lead to curiosity and therefore teenage pregnancy. Yet, others even say these...
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Family Planning Use in East Africa

Family Planning Use in East Africa

Family planning (FP) is critical in the promotion of community health. It is an intervention that is proven to save lives and foster development. Research supports the notion that family planning is directly linked to improvement in maternal and child health in addition to socio-economic progress. Understanding the unmet need for family planning services is key to improving worldwide reproductive health. During the last three decades in East Africa, research shows that Kenya and Rwanda are clear leaders in regards to access to and use of contraception. These two countries have a history of implementing targeted and focused programs to improve access to FP services. FP differs in each country in ways such as the amount of methods offered and the extent to which each method is available. Across the sub-region there is an increase in the use of modern contraceptives. But, a steady proportion of women in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Tanzania are still using traditional methods. While short-term contraception is frequent in the sub-region, there is...
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WORLD CONTRACEPTION DAY CELEBRATION AT KISUMU COUNTY

WORLD CONTRACEPTION DAY CELEBRATION AT KISUMU COUNTY

World Contraception Day annually takes place on September 26th. The worldwide campaign is centered on a vision where every pregnancy is planned and wanted. This year, Kisumu County joined the rest of the world in celebration at the Simba Opepo Dispensary. County officials and over 10 partners attended, with Deputy Governor Dr. Mathews Owino as the chief guest; he expressed commitment to the county leadership and its growth. The community came together to promote and echo important actions on Family Planning (FP) and contraceptives, improve awareness on contraception, and enable young people to make informed reproductive health choices. Healthcare workers were encouraged to support clients in selecting appropriate FP methods and discussing possible side effects. There is a need in the community for counseling on correct methods and their associated potential warning signs. Further, the celebration called for the mentoring of healthcare workers in order for them to have the right attitude towards youths. This attitude will allow patients to freely walk into...
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Notes from the Field: Equipping Kenya County Health Facilities Remains a Challenge

Notes from the Field: Equipping Kenya County Health Facilities Remains a Challenge

Cryotherapy is a method used to destroy precancerous cells to keep them from turning into cancer later on. According to medical experts, early detection and treatment of cervical cancer has demonstrated to dramatically improve the chances of survival. This is good news, as cervical cancer remains the most prevalent form of cancer in women in many developing countries, Kenya included and worst more to HIV+ women who are more likely to suffer from this type of cancer due to compromised immunity. There have been concerted efforts by both the Kenyan government and the private sector to raise awareness and scale up screening and treatment services across the country, which has led to a steady rise and improvement in treatment facilities. The ability of a patient to attend a screening clinic and to return to clinic follow-up evaluation and possible treatment is an important component to the success of a screening program.  Once she surpasses the myriad barriers she may face in understanding...
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Notes from the Field: “If only I stepped up to the gate of a school” life could have been better

Reproductive health remains a health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya included. Unless efforts to reduce maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity, improving access to family planning, and preventing HIV infection are scaled up, the majority of Kenyans remain at risk for poor health outcomes. Women face unsafe abortions, early marriage, and various forms of gender-based violence. They suffer silently from sexually transmitted diseases that make them vulnerable to cervical cancer and infertility, without access to the simple preventive measures like screening and vaccination. My experience working directly in the community and in health facilities has given me the opportunity to interact with various partners and many disadvantaged young men and women. Listening to their stories of teenage pregnancy, their beliefs in myths related to use of contraception, and experiences with HIV has made me keen to understand and try to address issues related to reproductive health. I met "Aisha" (not her real name) when her child was enrolled in a study I...
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Reports from the Field: Freedom House, a Safe Space supported by KMET

Reports from the Field: Freedom House, a Safe Space supported by KMET

By Faith Otewa: One of our goals of the Center is to highlight some of the important work in Sexual and Reproductive Health taking place in Kisumu and Nyanza. We were thrilled to sit down with the Director of KMET (Kisumu Medical and Education Trust), a Kisumu-based NGO working to promote innovative and sustainable reproductive health and education programs among underserved communities. KMET works in the areas of Maternal, Child, Adolescent and Child Health, livelihoods and nutrition, education and youth/adolescent empowerment and quality healthcare financing. The organization has adopted an integrated model to provide a holistic care to women by offering specialized diagnostic services like Family Planning Services (FP), Immunization, and HIV Testing, Cervical Cancer Screening and Laboratory services. A well-stocked dispensing pharmacy is also in place. KMET also houses a Youth Friendly Clinic for its youthful clients of reproductive age. The services offered at the center are affordable. With growing evidence that a substantial number of girls, children and women in Kisumu...
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