Promoting Health in Chogoria (Written by Winjoy Micheni)

Written by Winjoy Micheni, Community Health Nurse

This blog is written by Winjoy Micheni, HopeCore’s Community Health Nurse. She describes her duties as nurse, her experiences while working with HopeCore as well as with other medical professionals who come to volunteer and work with her in Chogoria.

My name is Winjoy. I started working at Village HopeCore International in 2010. My job as a nurse is to promote the health status of Chogoria and the surrounding communities by addressing holistic well-being of the community. This includes:

  • Screening, examining, and treating childhood diseases by providing both preventative and curative services
  • Reducing risks associated with risky sexual behavior and unplanned pregnancies by educating youth and adults about adolescence, family planning, and sexual reproduction
  • Equipping mothers with information on how to take care of their children’s health as well as their own

School Health Programme

Winjoy distributes anti-malaria bed nets to primary school students.

Together with my team through HopeCore’s mobile clinic program, we visit our 72 partner schools to offer medical services and health education once every three months. Here are the services our mobile clinics provide:

  • Deworming all lower primary pupils. By partnering with the Kenyan government, we will soon receive funding and support to deworm all 31,000 lower primary school students in the Maara Sub-County where we work.
  • Screeening, examining, and treating children (e.g. pupils with minor ailments including respiratory tract infections, ear infections, eye infections). Many pupils usually have easy-to-treat viral infections, and they are advised accordingly.
  • Anti-malaria net distributions. Malaria is still a problem in the Chogoria community, and we at HopeCore have a goal of giving every student under Class 1 a mosquito bed net. This helps protect some of the most vulnerable of school children. We also provide malaria prevention and treatment education to these children and their parents whenever we distribute the nets.
  • Counseling youth in schools. During my one-on-one counseling sessions with pupils and students, especially in secondary schools, I found that the young people are very sexually active and some do not use any protection. For example, last school term, I came across two students who had become pregnant and were immediately opting for an abortion. After talking to them and making sexual health follow-ups, they were able to make more informed decisions for themselves and go through with their pregnancies. I have also found out that most youths are using emergency (“Plan B”) pills more than they are using condoms, and therefore are at increased risk of contracting STIs and HIV/AIDS. I take time together with our trained youth peer providers to counsel the youth on family planning services.

HopeCore’s Vision

HopeCore has a vision to promote the alleviation of poverty in Kenya by providing microloans. In order to do that, we ensure that our loan clients are in good health. We therefore, as a Public Health team, visit microloan groups during their monthly meetings and provide health education, screening, and examinations for various conditions (e.g. diabetes, hypertension, etc.) We also provide family planning services to them. These services are performed on school holidays and during term breaks because of our department’s many activities through schools during times that schools are in session.

The loan clients can also visit our office clinic when I am available. Our clinic will soon become officially registered under the Kenyan Ministry of Health, and because I am the only nurse and extremely involved in health service and educational outreach, we will also soon be in need of more medical staff.

Working with Wazungu

Winjoy works with pediatric nurse Rachel, a volunteer from the UK Global Links Program, at a mother-child health and education clinic.

Finally, I’d like to comment on how I’ve gained a lot experience from volunteer doctors and nurses, and express my gratitude to them. By being able to work in the field with them, I have gained more confidence to practice as my own as a nurse. It’s not always easy to make a diagnosis, but with the help, advice, and support of the volunteers, I have learned so much and have become a better medical professional. Thank you to: Dr. Anika & Dr. Andrew, Dr. Mary Lester, Dr. Sophie, and Dr. Dominic & Nurse Rachel. Most of these volunteers have come from the UK’s Global Links Program.

I am very happy with my job at HopeCore, and I know that I am making such a big difference in my community with this organization.

Meet this blog’s author…

Winjoy Micheni, Community Health Nurse

1 thought on “Promoting Health in Chogoria (Written by Winjoy Micheni)”

  1. Hi Winjoy,
    My Name is Kenneth Kimandi Nyaga also from Maara.I can attest that Village Hopecore is doing a very good Job to our people,and happy to read through your experience so far.Am also pleased to state that i work for an IT company that has wonderful solutions on health care and mobile clinic which we refer to as digital clinics.We also do have a learning management system.We have a clear understanding of the PHC and see the General Challenges posed by existing Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC), Solution we can provide to improve services at Village Hopecore;
    Primary Health Care (PHC) is the backbone of a rational health care system. The PHC serves as the foundation for building a strong healthcare system that ensures better health outcomes. It was envisaged to be the first level of contact of individual patients, their families and communities with the national health systems, bringing health care as close as possible to the people and constituting the first element of a continuing health care process. The PHC programme was designed to address the main health problems in the community accessibly and affordably, through Promotive, Preventive, Curative and rehabilitative health care
    Good health policies exist at the national level of the Kenyan Health System but challenges lie in the implementation process –
    • The lack of accountability to the needs of patients resulted in patients bypassing lower level health facilities (PHC) where quality was perceived to be lower, resulting in overcrowding and overwhelming of the higher-level health facilities
    • It further caused a manpower misallocation and misplacement, a supplies inequity and inequality, a management and emergency crisis, a resources misallocation, mismatch and misuse, a surge and pressure by the Tier 2 workload on the limited and incompatible resources at Tiers 3 and 4 (hospitals) and under-utilization of resources and services at the PHC level
    Apart from the above general challenges, the PHCs are lacking of technical and infrastructure facilities to provide and affective curative care to the patient at PHC level, like
    • Non-availability of Medical Information system (EMR/PHR) for capturing patient data
    • Lack of any Digitalization of Medical Records or Data
    • Diagnostic services and Pharmacy are standalone within the same facility or location
    • Non-availability of Medical specialists, Para medics & Support staff
    • Outdated Medical infrastructure with mostly Analog devices to provide Super specialty medical consultation
    • No scientific Reporting and Monitoring system for measuring and improving the service delivery quality
    • Inadequate Primary Care imposes an unmanageable additional burden of Primary Care patients further congesting the overloaded secondary and tertiary care.
    Given a chance we can schedule a meeting to discuss this and see how we can take it further.
    Thanks and Regards,
    Ken Nyaga.

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