In April, Mel and Penny held workshops for Traditional Birth Attendants and began a Family Planning intervention. Penny worked with 12 TBAs during a 5-day workshop, improving skills, sharing knowledge, and connecting with primary care health services in Longido District Hospital. Mel, meanwhile, was in Magadini and Wosiwosi meeting with men to assess and discuss their attitudes toward family planning and prescriptive contraception; she’ll return in November to begin a contraception education module for both men and women based on this work.
The TBAs completed their training by creating the “Scorpion Song” which listed the six symptoms that require evacuation to primary care: pre-clampsia, breach presentation, traverse presentation, severe post-partum bleeding, twins (especially if there had been an issue in a previous pregnancy), placenta previa, previous problem pregnancies, very young mothers.
The men working with Mel were curious and concerned about contraception, they were keen for more information. In general, they acknowledged socio-economic changes that make smaller families more desirable, but they had little practical understanding for the cultural, financial and climatic realities beyond their grazing and trading lands. They were frustrated by this.
Penny’s grandchildren, Finn and Mali Jaschinski-Aeberhard, raised more than £40 for NHP from a pizza, cookie and card sale they held in their neighborhood park.
In May, working again with our partners at the Lutheran clinics, we held our second annual eye clinics in Gelai Bomba, Wosiwosi and Makat. Dr. Steve Friberg reports:
“Approx 50 pts were treated for minor problems. 10 pts are waiting for surgery at KCMC [Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center): 6 cataracts, 1 trauma, 1 glaucoma, 1 lid rotation, 1 advanced pterigium. Four of the referred patients were from Wosiwosi. We were happy that more complicated patients could be referred forward this time.”
We are also able to facilitate transport and partly subsidize hospital treatment. HOWEVER, we must now fundraise for next year’s clinic.
Dr. Jo and Rehema meet with a mother and her sick daughter
In May, Penny visited Makat with Dr. Jo Moore, a British doctor with a strong interest in public health education and women’s health issues. In Makat for over a week, they conducted a series of workshops including basic eye care, the importance of hand-washing, anemia, STD and HIV transmission. They also held training for Traditional Birth Attendants. A group of women walked 30 miles from Wosiwosi to attend this. Rehema Simon, a masai woman from a nearby village now working in Arusha, played a key role as translator.
In 2009, Penny’s brother, architect Mark Rankin, accompanied her on a field visit to Lake Natron. Heading for Wosiwosi, they got badly stuck in mud, and Mark found himself clambering up a wild hillside trying to get high enough for cell phone reception. He never found it; but he did find something more important: a deep appreciation for the beauty of Natron’s rugged landscape, and for the resilient people who welcomed him.
Later, in Wosiwosi’s simple mud and wattle nursery, local women presented him with an orange and white beaded crucifix. He wore this until his untimely death from cancer on March 9th, this year.
While in Wosiwosi and Makat, Mark first conceived the idea of a school desk appropriate for such remote locations. Currently, the desks used in both villages (and donated through the NHP and Mark’s Rotary Club in Godalming, UK) are bulky, heavy, expensive and difficult to transport. Mark envisioned a lightweight, slot-together design, with sustainable material either sourced regionally, or cheaply imported. If successful, the desk could have universal application.
In October, 2012, Makat’s children tasted their first safe, clean water.
A group of volunteer/donors through Challenge Worldwide travelled to Makat to help build four rain catchment tanks at the primary school. The alternative has been water from the local springs, containing 14 times the safe level of fluoride.
Water contaminated with this amount of fluoride leads to bone deformities, blackened teeth and possibly poor brain development in children. It also causes or worsens arthritis in older people. Affected children develop severe bowing of the legs, as fluoride bends the bones as they grown near the joints. Once children stop growing, the condition is irreversible.
Mobilizing Appropriate Action for Sexual Health Awareness through Images: report by Andrew Knight and Dr. Penny Aeberhard
Educating communities about their own health is a cornerstone to our project – the foundation upon with individuals may not only make informed decision about their healthcare needs, but may realize their human and legal right to adequate care.