As we headed to support the medical providers in Doldol, the view for as far as our eyes could see was of rural thorn bushes, dusty tracks and a few goats eating the prickly pear cacti. We wondered what would face us, as we were planned to visit three very different health settings that support the Maasai community.
Our first stop was the One More Day Centre, a rescue centre which provides refuge to girls and boys who are living on the street, fleeing FGM or are HIV+. A 14 year old girl we met, Nashipai, was nursing her five month old child who was conceived in an abusive relationship with a man in his 50s. Abandoned once she fell pregnant, she was forced to have FGM and fled to this centre for refuge. This story is just one of the many sobering stories we heard from our visit today to the centre.
Our next stop could not have been more different. We were met by 18 Community Health Workers (CHW), whose role was to carry health messages to the remote communities dotted across the horizon. We asked the group what health topics they wanted to learn and they told us they wanted to learn more about FGM, early child/forced marriage, HIV/AIDS and wider health care. This then led to some very engaging conversations in Swahili, Maasai and English with the CHWs. Having demystified some commonly held myths, we look forward to them becoming qualified health trainers, who are empowered to deliver key health messages in the area.
With a quick hop in the bus, our health team headed for the local hospital, to deliver updated training for the entire hospital staff regarding FGM and midwifery. As part of the CWB and 28 Too Many Health we have a qualified nurse, midwife, psychologist and a social worker, who shared good practice from all around the world to the doctors and nurses of Doldol. We were encouraged to hear them immediately considering changing existing practices for healthier options. CWB volunteer and midwife, Katie, took a session with the medical team and gave various donated medical supplies to the nurses which were gratefully with big smiles. Even though the facilities were simple, the care and commitment was clear to be seen and provided invaluable life-saving free health care to a wide geographic reach. We hope that with their passion commitment and knowledge, the support and training we provided them today can support them in their work going forward.