So many of the health problems faced by patients within GHP’s service area are caused or worsened by nutritional deficiencies. Right now GHP helps support 18 families. These families live on less than a dollar per day. Many of them are orphans or are being raised by desperately ill parents or grandparents. Many of these children are HIV/AIDS orphans and victims. The families are selected by their Community Health Workers, who know them very well, and are proposed for GHP support. Each proposed family is visited personally by the head nurse at the Kisesini Health Center, Nicholas Mtu, who assesses their health and social situation.
Thank you, Nicholas, for working so hard for these poor families. Thank you for your year round nutritional support for these families. Some of the families are pictured here, receiving their special Christmas gifts of food.
Also thanks to Nicholas, GHP will provide support for school uniforms. Children in Kenya cannot attend school without a uniform. A simple gift of a school uniform allows these poor children to learn to read and write.
The new Maternity Center, adjacent to the Kisesini Health Center, is nearly complete. Many, many thanks to the generous supporters of GHP and to the wonderful Kenyan nurses who have been overseeing the entire project. Soon expectant mothers within the Kisesini service area will have professional assistance before, during and after delivery.
An infection recognized early can save a newborn’s life
After a long walk to the home of a mother and her newborn infant, Salinas promptly began her assessment of the infant. Salinas is a volunteer community health worker (CHW) who has more than two years of experience with newborn home visits, having participated in the first training program that was implemented by Global Health Partnerships. The infant that she is visiting today in a village of Makusya sublocation was born three days ago without complications or problems. When Salinas checked on the baby the first day after birth, all was going well and there were no signs of illness or problems. On today’s visit Salinas starts by greeting the mother, asking if breast feeding is going well and if the mother has any concerns or has noticed any problems. She notes that the baby seems alert and active, has no skin pustules or boils, and her temperature is normal. But when Salinas counts the breathing rate, she finds a rapid rate of more than 60 breaths per minute. Recognizing this danger sign of serious illness, she calls her supervisor Nicholas Mutuku, who quickly arranges for the mom and baby to be transported to the Kisesini clinic. Nicholas confirms the diagnosis of pneumonia, promptly starts antibiotic therapy, and arranges hospitalization of the infant. A few days later the young infant has recovered and is back at home with her mother.
In Kenya 40% of childhood deaths occur during the neonatal period (the first month of life), and three- fourths of those neonatal deaths happen in the first seven days. Young infants can become very ill and succumb to their illness quickly. The key to reducing the death rate is early recognition and prompt treatment. Over the past three months Salinas and the other 19 CHWs visited a total 198 infants during their first week of life. The visits were conducted on days one, three, and seven of that first week, as recommended by UNICEF. There were no deaths. In the absence of the newborn home visitation program, 4 or 5 of those 198 young infants would likely have died, based on the national neonatal mortality rate in Kenya. The dedicated CHWs of the Kisesini Community Health Project have accomplished this successful effort because of your donations to this GlobalGiving project. If adequate funding can be found, GHP is planning an expansion of the project so that a larger number of newborn infants can be included.
6 Aug 2011
The first stop at the Outreach Clinic in Syokisinga was child malnutrtion screening with Sai and Katie, CHW Mutinda and others. The children were weighed and measured to determine nutrition status.
The severity of malnutrition is based on the weight for height measurement . . Although the majority of children were considered malnourished, the number that met the criteria for supplements was small.
Aug 3 2011. Late in the day we were called to the clinic to see a severely malnourished child who was 10 months old but weighed only 10 lbs, about half of normal according to WHO standard growth curves.
The mother, Patricia, 35, had stopped producing milk when little Katwili was only one month old. She substituted goat milk and a little porridge. She has not thrived. Patricia has 7 other children aged 3 to 15 years old. Her husband hauls water and sell it at the market. No one else in the family can work, and with the drought the garden produced nothing last year.
No Supplemental Food
The have a few chickens, but no other animals. Today, the baby had a cough, Patricia took her to the Katangi Health Center, but seeing the malnourished state of the baby and because they had no PlumpiNut for supplemental feeding, they sent her to our clinic–several hours on a motorcycle taxi away.
On investigation, we learned that there are six other children and a husband in the family. Mbitha was a twin and her brother died last month after a brief illness.
Your support can help
Would you like to help this family? Global Health Partnerships is establishing a fund to be administered by the head nurse to help the most vulnerable families. Consider setting up monthly credit card donation of $50, $1.60 per day, for Patricia and her family. Every cent will help this family and we’ll send you occasional updates and photos.
Sunday 31 July . Finally a rest day. I (Rifka) tried to sleep in but the sunrise was too beautiful and the rooster was crowing . David made coffee and lots of fried potatoes for breakfast. We also had scrambled eggs, chapatis and fresh papaya.