As a bit of back story – CHV (Community Health Volunteers) was started by Gabriel Musundi who originally trained at the Kenya Wildlife College to be a tour guide. As he did his work he recognised more and more the health issues of his local community. So Gabriel built a simple clinic from two shipping containers in Virhembe Market in 2008 and now employs 27 staff who operate the clinic 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As well as the clinic Gabriel and his team regularly “take the show on the road” – mobile clinics that set up at local schools, with teams going out ahead of the clinic’s arrival to tell local communities about the services that will be visiting.
We have been working with CHV since 2016 and up to the end of 2017 they have run 44 mobile clinics funded by CHASE Africa. At those clinics they have delivered over 25,000 CYP (Couple Years Protection – see below) of family planning services to local communities around the edge of Kakamega National Park.
As well as family planning the clinics offer de-worming for children; immunisations; primary healthcare; cancer screening and HIV/AIDs care.
We have continued funding CHV’s work into 2018 and anticipate many more successful clinics. We receive regular reports from CHV and are happy to be able to share some of the stories they tell us, two in particular…
During one of CHV’s outreaches in February a woman came for normal treatment, only to deliver her baby at the clinic – an ideal place with trained and helpful staff available to assist and care for the new-born. It was also the second time a baby has been born during one of CHV’s clinics!
Another lady received family planning for the first time – having already given birth to nine children. She was also ideally suited to work with CHV and so was offered a job in their “fixed” clinic as a cleaner – a huge opportunity.
The work isn’t always easy though and CHV face many challenges. In particular, culture beliefs about family planning mean there is additional work to be done amongst some members of the communities that they are trying to reach – though once those barriers are, sometimes slowly, broken down and overcome, acceptance of family planning grows. But then, despite funding, resources are still scarce and the success of the clinics leads to high expectations from locals and patients. Coupled with sometimes difficult weather conditions, poor roads and problems with transport availability CHV has a lot to handle.
Despite the challenges, Gabriel is positive: “One of the most appreciative things is the number of women whose lives have changed after they were given family planning commodities, it has given them time to look after a healthy family.”
Couple Year Protection (CYP) is an effective and unified way of showing of how the various different contraceptives (from the daily pill to a five year implant) we offer through our mobile clinics are reaching and impacting the communities that we serve. 25,000 CYP is equivalent to giving more than 25,000 women one year of family planning.