Woman gets a new lease of life

Judith Aoko lives with her grandmother and two of her children In Kanyairo village about 20 km from Siaya town. Her grandmother is the breadwinner to both Aoko and the children.
The 27 year old Aoko wears a shy demeanour, looks naïve and doesn’t speak much. She is epileptic the grandmother tells us.
Aoko has had two births while in her twenties yet no man has claimed responsibility of the children says her grandmother.
“I think some men take advantage of her situation when she gets epileptic fits or because she appears to be little mentally challenged” adds Rose Sewe a community health Volunteer working for Huduma Poa.


Judith’s grandmother (left) and Judith Aoko at their home in Kanyoire Village

Rose Sewe had heard about Aoko’s story and decided to consult Rose’s extended family for a solution. She talked to the Uncle and grandmother and they unanimously agreed that it will be prudent to have the lady put on a contraceptive method.
Aoko who was orphaned at a young age attended primary school and is able to write and read even though her comprehension of facts is questionable. She was taken in for counselling at Future Life Medical Clinic and through the guidance of the clinical staff she settled on an implant.
The grandmother says she is happy that her granddaughter is now on a birth control method because she is not ready for more grandchildren.

“Life has become hard, the farm does not produce enough like it used to, so we have to be wise. I love my granddaughter and I wish she gets a good man to live with her someday,” she concludes.

By Emmanuel Oyier

Ignorance on family planning messed me up says mother of seven


 Rosemary  (In black t-shirt) with her children at her house in Siaya 

Far right is Caroline the Huduma Poa Community health volunteer who counselled her.

Rosemary Atieno had just gotten married as a second wife in Udida Village, Siaya County and like in many polygamous relationships she enjoyed a lot of attention and affection from her husband.

The first wife had given birth to one child and had been unable to conceive thereafter, so when Rosemary bore a baby girl within their first year of the marriage the husband’s family was delighted.

That was 23 years ago and a lot has changed since then. Rosemary now 38 years old, is a mother of seven children who she has to support by herself.

Her first born daughter born in 1991 completed primary school and got married off due to what Rosemary terms as hardship within her home.

Her husband who is a casual labourer has since given her house a wide berth and spends all his time in the first wife’s house claiming that Rosemary’s house is too crowded and chaotic because of the children.

Rosemary says that she feels like her spouse is blaming her for having given birth to too many children, yet it is the man who had been constantly asking for baby boys in their marriage.

“Sometimes I ask for money and he says the little he earned has been consumed and at a point even asked me why I could not do family planning like other mothers do.”

The state of affairs at Rosemary’s house caught the attention of one community health volunteer (CHV) attached to a Huduma Poa Health facility nearby.

The CHV known as Caroline counselled the mother and referred her to Future Life Health Clinic for a method of contraception. Unluckily, Rosemary tested positive for pregnancy and could not have a method then.

She had to wait until six months after delivery to get a 5 year implant.

“I wish I had this information earlier, my life would have been better “says Rosemary.  “I feel bad I knew too late” she sombrely adds.

She says she is contemplating having a permanent method of contraception meanwhile she is on a five year implant.

Like many other ladies, Rosemary says she had only heard about Deprovera as a method of contraception prior to talking to the Huduma Poa Community Volunteer but did not go for it because of the side effects ladies say it has on them.


Fistula: a woman’s dignity robber


Fistula: a woman’s dignity robber

Originally posted on Lourdes Diary:

Many of us, you and I included could be walking with some conditions only you, your doctor and to some extend your close family know about. This is not the same to a woman affected by fistula as her condition is an open book for anyone with a sense of smell; such a woman is singled out and her condition exposed by virtue of her smelling.

Fistula is the gravest dehumanizing condition affecting many girls and women in developing countries. It is a real threat to a woman’s dignity as it deprives a woman her self-esteem leading to withdrawal due to stigmatization. When you are smelly, you definitely become a social outcast.

For those who did not know, May 23 is the United Nations’ (UN) International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, which promotes action towards treating and preventing obstetric fistula. This year’s theme is, “Tracking Fistula – Transforming Lives”


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A case for sex education in Kenya

Reproductive health is generally ignored because of the African  societies notion that sex is supposed to be discussed by adults.


Lately there has been the increase in sexual activity especially between the ages of eleven to fifteen years.  This has given  birth to calls for ‘sex education’. Considering what has been taking place with the myriad of teenage pregnancies and other problems affecting teenagers.

Sex education should not be understood to  just solely mean sex. Its consists of sexual health, sexual reproduction and sexuality which is a common discomfiture to many parents. Since time immemorial young people have been left to their own design when it comes to sexuality. It’s not uncommon for many to admit they have learnt more about sex from their friends other than their parents.

When the education stakeholders make a call to inoculate sex education several quarters have been of the opinion such policies will be cropper. Sex education is a sure step to demystifying   myths surrounding sex for example, one cannot get pregnant the first time they have sex

Not long ago newspapers published a story about a 14-year-old-girl who gave birth to triplets at the Bungoma District Hospital. She gave birth to the babies through normal delivery. It’s quite pitiful what the young lady went through because at such an age she is supposed to be going to school and not bearing maternal responsibilities.

This reality should awaken our Kenyan society to reconsider its stand on sexuality. Sex matters, especially in our traditionally conservative communities, are held as taboo. The parents and the society shy from discussing sex matters, both at home and in public, especially with regard to their children. Sex matters are strictly confined to the precincts of the bedroom.Religionhas to a large extent been a stumbling block to teaching sex education to children.

 Religions often oppose the comprehensive introduction of sex education in primary and secondary schools. They consider students at this level ‘still too young.’ With time we lose out on a chance of informing these young people on sex matters and leaving them to find information which is adulterated and of little help to them.

The government also isn’t vocal in promoting sex education but adopts availing it in bits as one progresses up the academic ladder. Therefore, students pass through teenage years with little understanding about sexuality.

So we finally give credence to the media to take the overall charge of our children’s sexuality and this leads to sexual experimentation. Because the media is the biggest cultural transmitter in today’s society we tend to take everything as the wholesome truth. Many parents have abdicated the role of parenting and moral upbringing to the media. You can vouchsafe many young people want to mimic the shady lifestyle they see on TV because they are depicted as ‘cool’

We must now more than ever not be afraid to speak out to the young people about sex. In Estonia, a national sexuality education programme was introduced and linked with accessible, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services. Between 2001 and 2009 some 13 490 ‘health events’ were averted in the country, including nearly 2 000 HIV infections, at a potential lifetime cost of US$ 67 825 per patient, approximately 4 300 unintended pregnancies and more than 7 000 sexually transmitted infections.

According to Mark Richmond, UNESCO’s Global Coordinator for HIV and AIDS, the landmark study gives an economic basis to the argument that sexuality education provides a key platform for HIV prevention amongst young people.

Reducing the sexual transmission of HIV by half by 2015, including among young people, is one of the goals of the UNAIDS Strategy. However, the 2010 UNAIDS global report shows a critical gap in comprehensive prevention knowledge about HIV amongst this age group and that about 40% of all new HIV infections among adults occur among young people aged 15-24. There is the growing recognition that school-based sexuality education has the potential to play a key role in improving young people’s knowledge for HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases

 By Don King


CEO, Monica Oguttu makes a presentation during the launch June 11, 2014, Kisumu, Kenya: On Wednesday, World Health Partners (WHP) and Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET) will host an event to launch a telemedicine-enabled rural health social franchise network in Siaya and Kisumu counties in western Kenya. Through this network, the organizations will offer remote and underserved communities in Western Kenya access to better healthcare and reproductive health services.

“WHP’s commitment is to bringing critical health services to underserved communities that are poor and large in number. The new health franchise network we are launching in partnership with KMET is a part of this commitment,” said Gopi Gopalakrishnan, WHP president. “I am very excited to see our teams take what we have learned from building a successful model for a telemedicine-enabled rural health social franchise network in India and apply it in a different context.”

Officials from Kisumu, Siaya and Nairobi, as well as partners, stakeholders and friends will attend Thursday’s launch event at the Kisumu Hotel. According to KMET’s Executive Director, Monica Oguttu, “The new project aims to build on WHP’s innovative and scalable social franchising model, and KMET’s existing social franchise network of Huduma Poa clinics to respond to the needs of underserved populations comprehensively and sustainably.”

With the new project, WHP and KMET plans to enroll 60 village level entrepreneurs in the telemedicine-enabled network and link them through a referral system with 6 clinics operated by nurses and clinical officers. This will include KMET’s Huduma Poa clinic network, in Siaya and Kisumu counties.Huduma Poa- Sky launch

Each network franchisee in the new network will be equipped with information, communication tools, and medical diagnostic technologies to communicate with doctors based at a Central Medical Facility (CMF) in Kisumu and, in the future, with health professionals in Nairobi and New Delhi, India, particularly for specialty care. A reliable supply chain will also be built to ensure the availability of medicines and family planning products to network clients.
Later in the project, KMET and WHP plan to expand the geographic reach of the network to maximize s on rural community health status.

About World Health Partners
World Health Partners (WHP) is an international nonprofit organization founded with the main aim of bringing better health services to everyone within walkable distance everywhere with a focus on serving rural and other especially vulnerable communities. Leveraging existing social and economic infrastructure, WHP utilizes the latest advances in communication and diagnostic and medical technology to establish large scale, cost-effective health service networks. Since 2008, WHP has been operating a social franchise network on scale in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in India. The network has provided more than 110,000 teleconsultations, largely for primary care, and has served millions of clients with targeted services and product distribution for family planning, tuberculosis and childhood illnesses. For more information, please visit http://www.worldhealthpartners.org.

About Kisumu Medical and Education Trust
Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET) is an indigenous Kisumu-based non-governmental organization established to promote quality health and education services across Kenya. KMET is committed to serving the underserved communities in the spheres of Maternal Child and Family Health. KMET operates in the 35 of the 47 Counties in Kenya as well as regionally in East and Central Africa. Among other programs, KMET runs a social franchise of clinics under the brand name “Huduma Poa Health Network”. The network employs an integrated approach in promoting provision of primary healthcare services.
For more information:

Karen Pak Oppenheimer
Vice President, World Health Partners
M: +1 415.690.6350
E: karen@worldhealthpartners.org

Sam Owoko
Programs Manager, KMET
M: +254 710125393
E: samowoko@kmet.co.ke




KMET, on 7th May 21, 2014, sat in a roundtable meeting with Siaya County Governor Hon. Cornel Rasanga. This introductory meeting was aimed at developing a rapport and forging a future working relationship between Kmet and the Siaya County Government.

Of major emphasis was the issue of maternal and child health and how to improve healthcare standards within the county. Even though it has the highest doctor density in the county, Siaya still suffers from the highest infant mortality rate. Kmet delegation with Siaya Governor Hon. Rasanga

Speaking, The Governor lauded Kmet for its continued delivery of properly targeted interventions and asked for help in delivering interventions to the high number of women that deliver through unskilled delivery (49%) “What the population needs now are homegrown solutions that promote sustainability, he said, because with devolution in place, development should be nurtured to grow from down all the way up; not the other way round.”

In a subsequent meeting, at the same venue, attended by Sicco van Gelder, Mechtild VD Hombergh from ParmAccess (who is Kmet’s technical assistance partner on Bima Poa) the main objective was to introduce Pharmaccess Foundation and its work to the county government leadership and identify possible areas of collaboration.

A combination of the strengths of Pharmaccess, Kmet and the County Government would be key in planning on how to achieve universal healthcare and sharing this with interested donors for support. Governor Rasanga suggested that his government could contribute some funds to match the donor’s contributions. He also noted that in future, it would be interesting to see people exchange farm produce for health insurance as this would improve their living standards.

The County Director of Health, Dr. Omondi Owino also emphasized the importance of re-introducing amenity (private wings) at Siaya District Hospital, Yala Sub County Hospital and Bondo Sub County Hospital to attract patients who can afford to pay for health insurance. The governor explained that a free healthcare system is still in people’s minds thus the need for subsidies supported by the contribution of the county government and the donor.

A similar meeting also took place on 15th May, 2014 between Kmet, PharmAccess and The County Government of Kisumu, represented by Deputy Governor Hon. Ruth Odinga, who pointed out that there is need to customize some of the best practices and apply them to Kisumu County to make it a champion among other counties in Kenya.Meeting with Hon. Ruth Odinga

The county leadership agreed that they would, as a starting point, look at revamping some of the amenity wings of public hospitals starting with JOOTRH using the Safecare Standards with KMET informing on the costing process. Sounding impressed with Bima Poa, the county officials mentioned that it would be great if KMET included public hospitals especially Victoria Hospital amongst their list of healthcare providers.





Article By: Joanne Rakwach



BBC Action Media makeshift radio station at the training venue..

KMET was last week represented at a lifeline communication training organized by BBC Media Action. This was a three day training that targeted aid workers, relief aid organizations, media practitioners and government/community leaders. The forum, which ran from 28th to 30th April 2014, trained participants on lifeline communications during disasters, i.e. handling communication issues to do with food, water, disease/healthcare and security to improve disaster response. KMET was represented by Deputy CEO and Programs Manager, Sam Owoko.

Incorporating practical work aided by real-life scenarios and dramatization, participants were trained on:
• How communication with disaster affected populations can help both communities and relief providers
• Information needs of populations at different stages of a crisis
• Designing communications activities
• Crafting and targeting messages
• The importance of consistent, accurate messaging
• The role of two-way communication: allowing people to voice their needs and share their experiences
• Channels and options for two-way communication
• Working with the media
• Coordinating with other relief organizations on communications with affected communities
• The importance of preparedness to communicate (e.g. writing it into the budgets, pre-allocating staff, building contacts and skills beforehand

The training was part of BBC Media Action’s ‘Preparation for Lifeline’ work, to improve the readiness of media and aid agencies to meet the communication needs of people affected by crises.

The participants

During the three day training, the need for critical information regarding missing family members, food aid, water and sanitation, security shelter and routine government update was emphasized as there usually is a communication breakdown during such times. Of importance, as noted, was the need to pass/Increase reach to practical and useful information that is also timely relevant and effective to affected communities and give them a platform to share feedback and concerns with duty bearers.

Other organisations represented at the training include: Red Cross Society of Kenya and World Vision International.


Article by: Joanne Rakwach