The prolonged drought experienced in most parts of Kenya is quickly deteriorating the nutrition status–especially that of babies and pregnant/lactating mothers. Pastoral communities such as the Maasai are most affected since their livestock form their livelihood. With little water and pasture for their animals, men are forced to walk over 50 kilometers to neighboring communities in search of pasture, leaving vulnerable mothers and children home with little or no food. Insecurity goes higher during these times. World Friends has partnered with the Ministry of Health, Kajiado County to provide nutrition interventions to drought stricken communities residing in Kajiado West. On 30th January 2018, World Friends nutritionist together with healthcare workers from Kajiado County conducted nutrition screening for pregnant and lactating mothers as well as immunization for children less than five years.
30 year old Rebecca Naipanoi is a Community Health Volunteer (CHV) at Saikeri region for three years now:
“I am passionate about serving the community. It was my dream since I was a little girl. However, I was married off when I was a young girl and thus didn’t complete my education-this did not prevent me from serving my community. As a CHV, I act as a link between the Community and Health care providers. My work entails conducting surveillance through home visits for 20 households which I head, all located within Saikeri village.” In regards to medical solutions for the community, she says, “It is not easy to convince the community to seek healthcare interventions at healthcare facilities. They still hold in high regard the traditions practiced by our fore fathers-making it is hard to convince them on the importance of modern medicine. For instance, most mothers agree with the practice of hospital deliveries-however, their mothers-in-law outlaw them from doing so. During nutrition surveillance, I get so many severely malnourished mothers and babies-so severe that they require in-patient care. However, it is almost impossible to convince them to get proper medical treatment. Surprisingly, some do not take their children for immunization! For this reason, I have joined World Friends in today’s nutrition clinic so as to take them to households with vulnerable mothers and children. It is easier to find them in their residents since most are ignorant of visiting health centers. A total of 71 babies aged five years and below have been immunized today. I am very happy and grateful to World Friends for their support in reaching out to this vulnerable population.”
Out of 61 pregnant/lactating mothers that were screened for malnutrition, 18 were severely or moderately malnourished.