Throughout much of the developing world children struggle to receive adequate healthcare and education. Due to poverty and disease, many girls of secondary school age are still enrolled in primary school creating a unique challenge to achieving the UN Millennium goal of universal primary education – when these girls begin to menstruate they often drop out of school entirely due to a lack of sanitary items, making it difficult for them to obtain their primary school certificates.
Some girls share an old scrap of cloth between them when they get their period. This raises a number of health issues such as a rise in infections and an increased risk of spreading diseases such as HIV, further disadvantaging girls towards a life of poverty.
Kenya Aid’s SHARE (Sanitary Health And Reproductive Education) program provides young women currently enrolled in primary or secondary school in rural communities with access to environmentally responsible, economically sustainable and culturally sensitive reusable fabric pads to help them achieve their dreams of education, justice and dignity. In addition, local health workers and Kenya aid volunteers provide essential health classes and information to help ensure girls grow up with the knowledge they need to live healthy and happy lives.
Each mother that delivers at the Shikunga hospital is provided with a birthing kit. This kit includes sterile gloves for delivery, a sterile razor blade to cut the umbilical cord, gauze, soap, a mosquito net and multivitamins including iron and folate.
These items help to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child, prevent malaria in newborns and mums and also help to treat anaemia which is especially common in the post-natal period.
Adequate antenatal care is essential for both safe mothers and healthy babies. At the Shikunga community hospital mothers can access antenatal care from the first trimester up until delivery, ensuring any potential problems are picked up early and addressed. The antenatal care provided is based upon the WHO focussed model of ante natal care which generally involves four visits during the course of the pregnancy.
After delivery, all children born at the hospital receive free treatment until the age of five years.
Safe Mother’s Group
All women who have delivered at the Shikunga hospital are invited to attend a weekly group called ‘Safe Mothers’. At these weekly sessions hospital staff provide talks on nutrition, breast feeding, new born care and family planning. It also serves as a social support network for new mums and lunch is also provided at each meeting.