Hope to never give in; The power of contraception

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Jessica Akwuone; 21 years old: Jessica is a single mother of 2 children; Elizabeth who is 5 years old and Jane who is only 2 and a half years old.

Jessica lived with the father of her children for 5 years but they separated about 2 and a half years ago. She told us that since they separated she has been taking care of their children alone and that the father doesn’t care whether they ‘live or die’ because even when they were starving he didn’t lift a finger to help them.

She learnt about family planning the day one of CHATs FPCORPs accompanied by backpack nurses went to their village and she was “educated”.

She decided to get the 5 year implant as her contraception method of choice because she does not want any more children. She also wants to give her children a chance to grow. She told us she works as a casual labourer and has to walk far to find them something to eat or get some money to buy them what they need. Her relatives are not stable either but they help her bring up her children.

She was grateful to the FPCORPS & nurse for educating her all about contraception and also STDs which she is at risk of getting without using protection. She was grateful to the organisation for getting to her just to help her and her neighbours. She hopes they never ever give up no matter how much the going gets tough!

**names have been changed to protect individuals***

Welcome to Kenya! School Children as Sex Slaves…

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Increasing numbers of school girls are resorting to sex work in their holidays to supplement home income –  resulting in an increased number of school girl pregnancies. (Kenya’s official’ unemployment rate is 40% – but the reality is much higher).

To make this much worse Kenya has the highest rate of abortions in the world resulting in practises of  unskilled abortions, STDs and Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM.) school girl pregnancies are a few of the many challenges faced by the FPCORPs and the mobile clinic team when implementing of Reproductive health/ combined family planning/ecological awareness services.

Gender inequality is a major challenge in most of the communities where CHAT implements family planning/ecological sensitisation services,  usually the men carry out any decision making – including health decisions for their spouses.

Untold suffering with infanticide, crude abortions, STIs and more are still the norm within most of the communites.There is an enormous need for basic health and ecological awareness education which CHAT now encompasses into family planning information .

Through M&E, CHAT innovated the back pack nursing to assist the FPCORPs with family planning services through door to door approaches proving to be  one of the most effective strategy (both economically & practically) to reach marginalised, hard to reach and/or stigmatised communities.

Many younger teenagers in and out of school are now requesting and accessing Family Planning services, often with the guidance of their parents and  teachers, to avoid unwanted pregnancies . Using door to door strategies to mobilize communitiies for familiy planning services at their household level has reduced stigma in strongly traditional communities.

Your support will help the work of a ‘Back Pack Nurse’ travelling out to the communities,often by their own means – by foot, or boda boda (motorbike taxi).

This last quarter your support reached 1,296 women along Kiamariga, Pesi, Ayam, Matigari, Matweku, Tandare, Olmoran, Mwenje and Nagum in Laikipia West with different FP methods of their choices.

Donate; http://www.popoffsets.com/support_us.php

Popoffsets; Our Proof

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“Family Planning could bring more benefits to more people at less cost than any other single technology now available to the human race”.  – UNICEF.

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“The human population can no longer be allowed to grow in the same old uncontrolled way. If we do not take charge of our population size, then nature will do it for us.” – Sir David Attenborough.

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“Pressures resulting from unrestrained population growth put demands on the natural world that can overwhelm any efforts to achieve a sustainable future. If we are to halt the destruction of our environment, we must accept limits to that growth”
– World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, signed by 1600 senior scientists from 70 countries, including 102 Nobel Prize laureates

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“When the family is small, whatever little they have they are able to share. There is peace .”- Phillip Njuguna, pastor, Nairobi, Kenya.

Single mother saved by family planning

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Maureen Wangui is a 20 year old single mother with one daughter called Veronica Nyambura who is a year and three months old.

Maureen takes care of her child alone.

Veronica’s father disappeared the moment he found out Maureen was pregnant and she hasn’t heard from him since.  Maureen learnt about family planning a year ago from one of her friends and started using the 3 month contraception protection, the depo injection. This time she chose  the 5 year implant as her preferred FP method of choice because she doesn’t want more children than she can provide for and she also wants enough time to take care of her daughter who is not well.

One of CHATs nurses diagnosed Veronica and these were her remarks;

“The child was born normal but after three months she developed Jaundice. Maureen took her to a private hospital and the baby was injected since she was weak and was unable to even hold her own head up, vomiting and a high, unpredictable fever. This child is disabled and needs special attention”. 

She would like to have an ideal family size of three children.

She was very grateful to CHAT for their support with family planning. She got emotional as she thanked our nurse for letting her know what’s wrong with her child. She can now plan on how her daughter is going to get therapy and eventually recover.

**names have been changed to protect individuals**

Tackling Religion, a Woman That Saved Isiolo

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This is the story of nurse Pauline Nunu whilst trying to take her annual leave in her home town of Isiolo. Her boss at CHAT had suggested to her that this might be an opportunity to help her community if she takes an extra 5 days leave to provide the much requested fp services– (Pauline had reported that there was still an enormous demand for fp services, especially access to contraception). However, Pauline is finding that many of the people of Isiolo Town are still very stigmatized due to their faith, – the population is made up of various religions and tribes but the majority are Muslim. The people thought strange things of Pauline when she got there, they all thought that she was paying the women to come to her and they weren’t sure why, Pauline had to hold meetings to explain that what she was doing wasn’t wrong, she explained how CHAT goes around providing information and health services to marginalized communities. And just to add to it all, she is being challenged by trying to provide door to door services in torrents of rain which in turn is making it harder for Pauline to get around.

Pauline has little opportunity to ‘rest’ because she is finding the demands for her services rather overwhelming!

Pauline in 4 days had helped over 300 ladies access especially the longer term methods of fp. An example of one of hundreds of women coming to Pauline for help in accessing fp services: Halima Doru is a 24 year old single mother of 4. She had heard about the opportunity this lady Pauline was providing – so she came to visit Pauline, she came a long way from Kambi, the other side of Isiolo. She explained her troubles to Pauline, being of the Muslim faith, she believes that one is not allowed to use any form of contraception protection, she tried to persuade her mother to take her to a clinic to enquire about family planning in Isiolo but her mother refused to entertain that thought.

She asked Pauline to come to one of her friend’s house once darkness fell. She said she had to have this done in the evening because of the fear of victimization. She chose the 5 year implant as her contraception protection method of choice.

Curing the Community, Help for Mother and Baby

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Magdalene, who is 28 and married, has 3 children between the ages of 5 months and 8 years. .

Magdalene owns a shop selling kitchen utensils. Recently though, she has had to hire someone else to run her business because she is simply unable to manage the store while trying to raise her young child along with her other two children. When she is able to work, she is at her shop from 7am to 7pm. Magdalene’s husband makes a modest living running a taxi service with his motor-bike (boda boda) taking people to various destinations around the small town.

As she was walking by the CHAT motor mobile team in Kiawara in Laikipia Central District she took the opportunity of CHAT’s free family planning services. She ultimately chose to receive a 3-year contraception protection implant. While being inserted, we learned that she had a bad respiratory infection that she caught from her 5-month old baby, who was also still sick. We took the opportunity to give mum and baby some basic curatives to help with the illness for hopefully a speedy recovery

The Last Challenge Overcome

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“My dream is for my children to get the best education as this is the only inheritance I can give them, as I don’t have any acre of land to give them,”.

Wanja is twenty six years old, she is married to Mr. Mwangi and has four children. Her most recent child is only a year and nine months old. Wanja earns some money by working as a casual laborer in peoples’ farms around the Karemeno area.

They face financial challenges while raising their children, especially taking them to school, but they always find a way to solve their problems and the only challenge they had was lack of access to affordable family planning services.

“It was during a chief Barraza’s meeting, that we learnt about family planning from Ndegwa (the community family planning mobiliser) as he had been invited by the area chief to give us information on the different family planning methods. He said that for those who would be interested with any of the methods, CHAT will visit the area with a back pack (Ministry of Health) nurse the following week to offer the services for free”.

Wanja said that she went and discussed the issue with her husband who allowed her to receive the method of her choice. When the back pack nurse arrived, Wanja was there and ready to receive the five years implant (Jadelle) as her chosen family planning method. She confirmed that her husband has been very supportive as neither of them want more children.

“Now, all my worries are gone, thanks to the mobiliser, Ndegwa , CHAT, and the donors who are concerned for poor people and want to ensure that we live a normal healthy life”.

Wanja smiles as she heads towards the others in the queue.

Two Wives, One Responsibility

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Complications with marriage can happen in any part of the world, but how is that dealt with when it’s a struggle to support one family?

Edward is a 35 year old man. He has been married twice.

We asked what was the reason for his divorce from his first wife and he told us that they had lots of misunderstandings in their marriage and they both thought its best for everyone if they end it.

He is currently married to Jacinta Wanja with whom he has two children. He has 3 more children from his first wife. He didn’t want to share with CHAT the names all the ages of his children because he was getting uncomfortable with the questions!

He added that he supports his children financially and sometimes visits them. He also said that of late it has been hard because she got remarried and is expecting another child from her current husband.

We then asked if his wife was okay with him supporting his other children and he said at first they had issues but later she came to understand he has a responsibility.

He then told us he wishes his wife would come to get the 5 year contraception protection, an implant method, because he doesn’t want more children, but there is a problem because the wife belongs to a church that doesn’t allow family planning – on the contrary they support having many children.

He said he is very grateful to CHAT for delivering such services to the community in his area because they really need it. He also added that he wishes there was family planning insertions for men!

Succsess With Family Planning

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Our back pack nurse met Linnet in the Likii slums of Nanyuki town in Laikipia County. Linnet is a 26 year old lady who is married with 3 children to a man named David Kihara. Her firstborn are twins, Solomon Mwangi and Moses Wamugunda and her last born is a girl called Stacy Njeri.

She learnt about family planning from a doctor when she went for a clinic check-up for her firstborn children. She says her husband is aware and very supportive of family planning. She also says she always wanted to have 2 children but she has no regrets either way. She has now decided to get the 5 year implant because she doesn’t want to have any more children.

She thinks having more children with their current financial status will ruin her ability to provide for them and stop her working efficiently for her family. She hopes her family continue being as happy as they are now, and  also dreams that her children will grow to be successful after they finish their education.

She is very grateful to CHAT for the free implant family planning method she chose, and for CHAT’s efforts to help the women in her community. She says most of them are aware of family planning but they don’t use it because it’s either expensive for them or they believe in the myths against family planning being talked about in the area.

Escaping With My Life; A Farmers Struggle.

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Zipporah Wangeci, who lives in Kiamariga in Laikipia County, is a 30 year old farmer married to John Mutigia. They have 3 children (12yr old Laban Gachau, 6yr old Purity and Lydia Gathoni).

None of their relatives are willing to help them with any support in terms of bringing up their children. She dreams that someday her children will finish their education and will have a brighter future than theirs.

Wangeci was injured while riding on a motorbike which got into a serious accident. Luckily she escaped with her life.

Wangeci Laments;

“ My husband is fully aware of family planning and is very supportive. Currently with the poor economic status, we can’t afford to cater for more children as even the 3 are a burden to us.”

She learnt about family planning from one of her friends who received family planning information from a CHAT mobiliser, but she couldn’t make it to CHAT’s yellow mobile clinic truck due to a broken leg from the accident.

She then asked her friend to see if the nurses could deliver the services at her home.

CHAT’s back pack nurse, Pauline, traveled to her home and assisted her with family planning and reproductive health information. After being counselled she selected the 5 year implant (Jadelle) as her family planning method of choice. The nurse prepared to do the insertion. The conditions at the home were not ideal, but she tried her best to do the insertion in the most hygienic and comfortable way. Pauline is an experienced nurse and is able to deliver family planning services safely in unfamiliar conditions.

Wangeci told the nurse how she had been thinking about getting the implant from the nearest hospital which is miles away from her village. Transport would have been a problem for her considering she has a broken leg, and every day she delays increases the chance of getting pregnant again. She was grateful to CHAT’s nurses, donors, and for the support of her community and for services they delivered.