Fistula: a woman’s dignity robber

Fistula: a woman’s dignity robber

Health Binder

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

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

Sam Owoko
Programs Manager, KMET
M: +254 710125393