Where are the men of Sigomere, Siaya County?

IMG_0134The role of a man-husband even in the bible starts with leadership, same applies to the traditional roles of men and women who were established to ensure the power of the head of household.

But what happens when it comes to accessing health services? This is a question I ask myself when you visit health facilities only to meet long queues of women and no man at all.

According to the report by the Commission for Revenue Allocations in the year 2013, Siaya is noted in top ten with people living with HIV/AIDs (100,400) and with highest infection too coming at number four after Kisumu, Homa bay and Nairobi Counties.

Despite having such a large number, it is still evidence that residents of Siaya County still shy off going for HIV/AIDS testing and counselling despite the services being offered for free and at their door steps.

To reach the undeserved community with accessible, sustainable quality health and education is the only Kmet’s commitment. That is why we hit the roads to reach out to Sigomere residents in Siaya County for HIV and AIDS Testing and Counselling, Cervical Cancer screening, TB screening as well as give them health talk and emphasize on the importance of having quality health.

To our astonishment, a larger number of those who came for the services were women of around 35 years and above. This left us asking, where are the men of this county, how about sons and daughters of the women who came for the services?

HIV testing and counselling, cervical cancer screening and TB screening forms a gateway for proper care, treatment and needed support for the persons in need.

That is why we encourage people who might have doubts about their health history to visit health facilities for verification because;
· It is proven that early and regular cervical cancer screening reduces incidences of maternal mortality as late stage at which women get diagnosed reduces their chances of survival.
· Early HIV diagnosis means a healthier life since you protect yourself as well as your partner hence avoid being infected of other sex related infections, and lastly you will be able to make right decisions such as if to have more children and take precaution measures to ensure the child is not either affected among other things.
· According to reports in the medical literature and CDC surveillance data, the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis (ACET), People who are in close contact with person suspected to have TB, persons infected by HIV, people who inject themselves with illicit drugs, infants and medically underserved-low income populations are at high risk of contracting TB hence should be screened.

As much as accessing the services should be voluntary it still important to embrace them as we visualize a community where there is accessible, sustainable quality health and education services and facilities.

That is why we urge everyone regardless the age and gender to know their health history to live healthy.

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KMET Microfinance relaunches to reach the underserved

KMET CEO, Monica Oguttu the patron to the Microfinance cuts the tape during the relaunch

KMET CEO, Monica Oguttu the patron to the Microfinance cuts the tape during the relaunch

KMET KMET Microfinance was set up in 2004 as a self-sustaining strategy to empower KMET network members economically. It largely drew membership from community health volunteers (CHVs) and hospitals affiliated to KMET the NGO.

Community health volunteers were the main target population since they do not have stable income yet they offer critical health services to communities. KMET works directly with over 1000 community volunteers across the counties.

The micro finance operations were later transferred to the KMET Sacco in 2011, which then had the capacity to handle the ballooning needs of the members.

August 2 2015 saw the re-launch of KMET Microfinance delinking its activities from the KMET Sacco and the mother organization.

Senior Business Advisor, Amos Vele says this is a step to tailor-make financial solutions for small businesses and low-income earners whose needs might not be catered for by the SACCO or other credit facilities.

“We are in the business of improving socio –economic conditions of self-help groups through economic activities, “he says. He further adds that the institution is prioritizing women’s involvement in economic opportunities.

“There is a huge potential among women because many of them are unbanked and still majority of them have a higher capacity to save compared to the menfolk,” he reiterated.

KMET Microfinance has products like Nawiri loan tailored for small businesses, which has low interest rates and flexible repayment periods.

Alongside this are other products like Tiba Mashinani, a healthcare package aiming to finance small clinics and pharmacies that need to upgrade and improve services.

A product in the pipeline is the Mshahara loan for salaried members who would wish to take loans based on their pay slips and asset financing which will finance members to purchase assets.

The future is bright with the microfinance institution planning to make inroads in mobile banking, internet banking and an improved customer service not forgetting an expansion plan to reach more clients

To know more about the products  get in touch with

Amos on cell 0722 127 893

And Dan on cell 0726870104

Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives: the choice for young people

Participants during a group discussion

Participants during a group discussion

Most young people who are sexually active more often opt for short term contraceptive methods in order to prevent pregnancy.

In fact, it is no longer news that majority are frequently using the emergency pills despite the adverse effect of a possible ectopic pregnancy in future.

Some of those using pills and condoms on the other hand are not consistent resulting to unwanted pregnancies and of course, unsafe abortions and its related problems.

Unto them that are on injection (depo), they face the risk of delayed return to fertility. Do young people really have a choice when it comes to contraceptive methods?

Young people do have convenient and efficient contraceptive choices but most of them either have no idea or have inaccurate information concerning the methods.

It is in this light that KMET under the CTG program trained youth peer providers from Kisumu, Migori and Siaya Counties on Long acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) and how effective and convenient they are for young people.

According to Caro Nyandat, KMET RH Coordinator, LARC especially non hormonal IUD saves young people from delayed return to fertility and frequent visits to a health facility.

Moreover, young people escape the hook of pregnancy as a result of inconsistency when using the everyday pills.

Caro also noted that majority of those using the non-hormonal IUD do not experience abnormal monthly periods or weight changes as it has been reported by those on hormonal methods.

The youth peer providers are expected to disseminate information on the convenience of implants and IUD in pregnancy prevention, especially to the young people who always assume these methods are meant for older people.

The 5 days training which took place in Bondo was facilitated by RH Coordinator Caro Nyandat, Kepha Ogalo, Teddy Brian and Peter Victor who are peer educators.

By Lynette Ouma

Raped or defiled, what you need to do.

Gender Violence  Recovery Centre at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital

Gender Violence Recovery Centre at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital

More often than not when one is defiled or raped they become helpless. Life suddenly becomes unbearable and the thought of seeking justice is far-fetched. This happens because survivors suffer stigma. It should not be the case, one needs to report and legal action taken to stop these heinous acts. You could be wondering how to I go about this, well here is how.
In case of Rape
• Don’t take a bath. Even though it is a natural reaction to want to wash, do not take a shower or bath as this may destroy vital evidence needed in your case.
• Do not change your clothes as these may carry blood, semen and other bodily fluid which can be used as evidence. If you have to change clothes, DO NOT keep clothes in a PLASTIC BAG.
• If you can manage, do not go to the toilet or brush your teeth.
• Don’t drink any alcohol or take any medication before going to the police since this can influence the outcome of the medical examination, and you will also need to make a statement.
• Contact a friend/family member you trust for support. The first person you tell about the rape is called the first witness. This person may need to make a statement to the police about your condition and if possible, should accompany you to the hospital/police station.
• See a doctor first
• It is recommended that you visit the nearest clinic, hospital or doctor first. It is preferable to not visit a family doctor as he/she may not be trained for this type of medical investigation. The doctor must be willing to testify in court.
• Report to a police station and record a statement. Make sure you take the OB number.

Dealing with the police
Initially only a brief statement is required from you. Make sure you read over the statement before signing it. You can provide a more detailed statement later.

You must get the P3 Form. The Kenya Police Medical Examination form, popularly known as P3, is provided free of charge at our police stations. It is used to request for medical examination from a Medical Officer of Health, in order to determine the nature and extent of bodily injury sustained by a complainant(s) in assault cases. Part I of the form must be filled by the Police Officer requesting medical examination.

Part II must be filled by a Medical Officer or Practitioner carrying out the examination giving medical details. This form is a government document and must be returned to the police for use in adducing evidence in court. Once the P3 form is filled in at the police station, the complainant is escorted by a police officer to a medical officer or practitioner for examination. The form becomes an exhibit once produced in court.

At the police station you have the right to:
• Make your statement in a private room
• Make your statement to a female officer (if there is one)
• Make your statement in your own language
• Have a friend/family member with you for support
• Get a copy of your affidavit (you are entitled by law), name of the investigating officer and case number.
• Get the OB number of the police station you can call to check progress on your case.

• If a suspect has been caught, make sure they inform you of a bail application. You have no right to testify at the bail application, but you can find out the name of the prosecutor and the court where the hearing will take place.
• You can approach the Chief Prosecutor or Prosecutor in charge of Sexual Offences before the bail hearing and disclose your fears if the suspect is released on bail.

What happens during the medical examination?
Try and remember. Provide as much details as you can of the incident to the doctor examining you. This may serve as useful evidence.

Rape kit
The doctor needs to complete a rape kit, this includes taking note of any injuries, scrapings under finger nails, evidence of sperm from your vagina and looking for possible DNA.
No male officer may be present at the examination and once again, you have the right to have a friend or relative with you to support you.

HIV
It is important to get PEP within 72 hours of penetration, attempted penetration, oral sex, or anal sex to reduce the possibility of contracting HIV.
Before getting the medication, you will need to undergo an HIV test.

STDs and pregnancy
During the first doctor’s examination you may need to take in quite a lot of medication. Doctors may prescribe medicines to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and further infections such as hepatitis, and to prevent pregnancy.
If you are already pregnant when you are raped, talk to the doctor about the possibilities of your unborn baby becoming infected with HIV.

Forensic evidence
Doctors may ask for your clothes and other evidence which will be sealed in a paper, not plastic bag. Plastic bags can cause degradation of biological material (such as semen) as a result of the heat in the bag.
All evidence is entered into a special police crime kit.

Getting support
Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS) is a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that often affects rape survivors. This psychological disorder can be very debilitating. It is important to get some form of support or counselling after being raped, as you will have many emotions and concerns that you will need to work through.

If you are in Kisumu you can visit Gender Violence Recovery Centre at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (Russia)

Call us for free on 0800724500 or contact these numbers for help; Child line Kenya-116 and Health Assistance Kenya-1195.

Help us break the silence on such instances of human rights violation by sharing your story with us. It is through the documented cases that we can demonstrate how real the situation is and influence programs to support survivors

Reaching the unreachable, our journey into Ringiti Island

 mfangano

A rapidly growing population, high population density, failing food production, and low resilience to climate change characterize Homa Bay County.

Located along the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya, Homa Bay County is home to 955,060 people and has a fertility rate of 5.2 children per woman compared to the national average of 3.9 children per woman.

The county has several Bays and islands even though the two popular Islands are   Mfangano and Rusinga.

While working with the ministry of health officials in outreach activities, we identified a small but populous island with high HIV prevalence and low uptake of contraceptives.

Ringiti Island has a population of 6000 and an estimated HIV prevalence of between 35 to 55% among adults. Majority of people here find it difficult to access health services because of the infrequent public transport and boat trips that take several hours and sometimes require an overnight’s stay.

We planned for a joint outreach with the Ministry of Health using the nearest government health facility called Wakulla Health Centre within the Island as the link facility. We were to offer integrated reproductive health service while the ministry of health staff offer curative services.

“There is only one boat that goes to Ringiti Island and it leaves Mbita at 7.30am, and will take you 3 hours”, a local fore warned us when we enquired about the transport to the proposed outreach site.

Luckily, on the D-day, May 17 2015, the Ministry of Health offered us an engine boat owned by the health center. We left the shores of Mbita town at 7.00 am.

We arrived at Ringiti at around 10.00am and found a group of anxious people waiting for us.

“The doctors are here at last,” they sighed.We set up our service station in a hall provided by the beach leader trying to replicate a hospital setting. We start off with health education prior providing services

The numbers trickled in and at some point we felt overwhelmed as we had to leave the island before the lake gets ‘bad’. For safety reasons, no boat braves the waters beyond 2 p.m. for fear of the afternoon and evening turbulence.

We were at cross roads. “Do we leave all these clients who badly needed our services? Or do we hope that the lake will be calm today and stay longer? We decided to stay until 4pm.

“Please come back again another day,” they told us as we put up our things together in preparation to leave the island.

The journey back to the mainland through Mfangano Island was horrifying. The waves were bad and we all offered silent prayers every time a huge wave tossed the boat sideways out of its forward course.

For a few moments we took solace on the self-proclaimed experience of the coxswain but all confidence was thrown away at the sight of any rising wave- some getting as high as one meter up.

We arrived at the hotel at 8pm.The day was long; the journey was dreadful but worth the hassle. We slept feeling achieved having fulfilled the KMET goal of reaching the unreachable and underserved with quality services.

You can always find us on facebook or follow as on twitter

     Reported by Sarah Mercy                                                             

A mother’s determination to get the IUCD

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Twenty seven year old Irene Atieno had been in constant conflict with her husband regarding the use of a contraceptive method after having their first child who is now two years. She desired to space her pregnancies but the partner argued that family planning would affect her health.

She suggested the use of condoms as an alternative but this too failed since the man had not fully bought into the idea of contraception.
Irene who is also blind decided to go for Depo injections despite her partner’s dissenting opinion. She was persuaded that her choice was right since neither of them was employed nor had a steady income to care for their children and personal needs.

She had attended a crocheting course at Aluor School of the Blind and had a crocheting machine that she would occasionally use to crotchet sweaters for neighbors’ schoolchildren. Each sweater fetches 450 to 600 Kenya Shillings.
Irene divulges that at some point they had a misunderstanding and had to live separate with her husband. She defaulted on the depo jabs and got pregnant as soon as they reconciled the marriage.
The reunion was not long lived and later on she returned to her rural home in Asembo Constituency with two children. The last-born is now six months old.
She swore never to take chances with birth control and once at home, Irene visited Mama Ann Odede Clinic, one of the Huduma Poa Health Network Facilities.

Irene insisted on getting an IUCD reporting that she had once used implants and had hormonal effects on her. In addition, she was aware she had defaulted on Depo before and did not wish to take the risk again. Unfortunately, the Sub County was experiencing IUCD stock outs. She says she was advised to come a few days later after the facility had restocked.
Luckily, she learnt that the said health facility would be holding a joint community outreach with KMET and the Ministry of Health in their village.

We later met Irene at Opiata Beach during the outreach some 15 kilometers from her home. This is where she finally got the non-hormonal method.

“I don’t want to be going back to the hospital after every three months, it is too hectic and easy to forget,” she says of the Injections.
We got in touch with her two months later via phone and Irene assured us that she is doing well save for a little cramping before her menstrual periods. She is optimistic that she will not be getting another child anytime soon until she is ready for one.
“I’ve not had any problem with this coil, and I know I will give birth only when I want now,” adds the special needs mother.
Reported by Pamela Nyagol-Quality Assurance Officer

ACK Khasoko Health Centre: First IUCD inserted and recorded was because of KMET

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In the year 2014, the Ministry of Health directed us to ACK Khasoko Mission Health Centre when KMET was on a mission to recruit more facilities into the Huduma Poa Social Franchise from Bumula Sub County.

The sub county has a population of 129,011 and is the second most populous sub county in Bungoma County. A county that records a total fertility rate of 5.0 compared to the national rate of 3.9.

Huduma Poa has worked with the facility for 11 months now in core intervention areas of integrated family planning and integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI). The nature of partnership includes staff training, provision of technical support in quality management and offering support supervision.

In addition, KMET supports four community health volunteers attached to the facility to refer clients from the community for health services.

In May 2015, the KMET Huduma Poa program staff and the Executive Director visited the facility to ensure there is uninterrupted service delivery and offer feedback on the progress made in the areas of child health (pneumonia, malaria and diarrheal diseases), family planning and cervical cancer screening.

The health facility had inserted 19 IUCDs, 312 implants and screened 220 clients for cervical cancer in a period of nine months. Joseph Odhiambo, the clinical officer in charge confirmed that indeed long acting and reversible contraceptive methods were not their priority before the partnership.

The only method of contraception being offered then was the injection and male condom.

“I have been here for four years and the short relationship between you KMET and this facility has been a big achievement. One because the first IUCD to be inserted was done when we started the partnership being the first time an IUCD appeared in the records of the facility,” reported Joseph.

Joseph explained that the only period they ever recorded an Implant insertion before, was when a nonprofit organization would occasionally use their room to offer the services using their own personnel and not the hospital’s.

Being the only provider trained on cervical cancer screening and insertion of IUCDs in the facility, Joseph has mentored two other colleagues who were recently recruited with the support of the KMET Quality assurance officer.

He attributes the number of cervical cancer screening and family planning clients to efforts of the community health volunteers.

The four community health volunteers were trained and given job aids on family planning, HIV counseling and cervical cancer for purposes of referrals.

During a roundtable feedback session the CHWs underscored the importance of the training saying that, they have been equipped with facts, which make their work easier.

“KMET has really considered the work of CHVs and trained us; we are not scared when we talk to the community and this has made the four of us unique from the other CHV’s who are not in Huduma Poa,” reported Judith one of the community health volunteers.

She reported a shift in attitude of clients from Depo injections to more long-term methods citing instances when they have had outreaches where clients turn up in large numbers and night falls when more clients are still coming in.

They however challenge KMET to think of a package that can bring men on board in family planning, suggesting options like prostate cancer screening.

The biggest challenge the facility experiences is that there is no health practitioner trained in cryotherapy in the sub county hence they refer clients to the county referral facility which is far away and hampers effective follow-up.

To know more about Kmet you can always visit us on facebook or twitter

by  emmanuel oyier