You have probably heard of Kenya’s Maasai people, perhaps the most well-known ethnic group in Africa thanks to their proximity to the big game parks and all the related tourist activities, colourful dress and nomadic lifestyle. Perhaps you don’t know that the traditional Maasai who live in the most remote areas of Kenya have lost many mothers, babies and young children because some do not get to clinics and access treatment.
The Maasai and other people living in the area of Narok did not have a hospital and needed a community health facility. The Nturumeti Dispensary was built to serve an area covering eight villages. In November the dispensary received a shipment of medical relief from Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC). This was part of the first provision of medical aid through HPIC’s Pamoja Project in partnership with Anglican Development Services Kenya (ADSK), a key partner in the delivery of healthcare to vulnerable communities in Kenya.
The medicines were “a boost to the facility,” reported Anne, the dispensary nurse. The facility, officially supported by the Ministry of Health, has had many challenges due to a poor supply of medicines. She has a tough time getting enough medicine with her modest budget.
“I appreciate the supply of infection control items such as waste bins, wet wipes, sharps containers, disposable gowns,” she says. “This has improved our infection control measures, especially in our maternity and wound dressing rooms.”
The women accessing the maternity services are especially grateful for the items they receive to improve their hygiene during and after childbirth. Anne believes that the number of patients is increasing thanks to greater access to medicine.
The nurse noted that the antibiotics for children were very effective. As stated by one of the beneficiaries, children are recovering well thanks to the donated medicines: “We are happy for the new drugs; they are causing our children to recover very fast.”
HPIC is currently planning the next shipment for the Pamoja Project, slated to leave in August.
About the project
Pamoja, which means “together” in Swahili, is in partnership with ADSK.
Like many African nations, Kenya relies on health services provided by faith-based organizations to care for more than 60 per cent of the population. Many women and children have little or no access to essential medicines or basic health services. As a result, the annual death rates remain far too high. Every year 8,000 mothers and over 7 million children five years old and younger die. Most of these deaths can be prevented through greater access to care and effective treatment.
HPIC’s Pamoja project aims to be part of the solution. Providing necessary medicines and supplies is one part of the project. And the other innovative component of the project involves training and mobilizing leaders as communications channels to transmit key health messages to communities and mothers. The hope is that more women will know about available health services, why and when to consult. To save the lives of mothers and young children, women and their partners need to consult before treatable complications and diseases go too far.
Partner highlight: HPIC is grateful for the partnership of Pfizer Canada, a donor of antibiotics to this shipment to Kenya. Pfizer Canada has been a partner since 1994 and was a top donor in 2016.