CELEBRATING DADS!

“Mothers play an important role as the heart of the home, but this in no way lessens the equally important role fathers should play, as head of the home, in nurturing, training, and loving their children.” – Ezra Taft Benson  – 

While our programs focus on women and especially mothers, just as the quote says, PS Kenya recognizes the significant role fathers play in making our programs a success. We understand that support from the head of the household can go a long way in influencing positive behaviour change for the entire family.

As we join the world in celebrating Fathers’ Day, we selected a few stories depicting men who have broken ranks with other men to discuss issues that are regarded to relate to women only and tackled them head on, for the sake of their families. To these men and many more like them, we salute you!!

Enjoy.

THE UNUSUAL SEEKER OF FAMILY PLANNING

Kulu with his wife in a session with Lucy (Tunza Mobilizer)

As I supervise Tunza Mobilizers in lower Eastern, I often get reports on how men resist the uptake of family planning methods. The reasons for the resistance are varied. Some men say family planning will make their wives promiscuous. Others think their wives will be infertile while the rest swear that the hormonal family planning methods (implant, injection and pill) will be transferred into the man’s body consequently diminishing or killing his libido.

It was therefore very surprising when Lucy Wambui, a Tunza mobilizer in Kabati market Kitui County, told me about a man named Kulu Mutisya.

As Lucy was preparing to conduct a small group session at the market in September 2013, Kulu approached her. “Mwalimu (teacher), I have been told you normally teach the community about methods of family planning and

I have been looking for you to seek some answers,” said Kulu. Lucy braced for the worst because it was extremely rare for a man to seek information on family planning since it was known to be an issue for women.

“What do you want to know about family planning,” Lucy probed. “I want to get my wife a contraceptive,” he replied. Totally surprised by the response, Lucy then found a private place for the two to discuss the issue. What she heard next was astounding. “I have been married for 10 years and I have six children but I need to stop having children,” Kulu began his narrative.

During the 10 years of the marriage, the six children came at breakneck speed, barely two years apart from previous pregnancies. At the fourth child, the couple had tried to stem the tide with hormonal contraceptives, but his wife could not handle the side effects and discontinued the method. As soon as she discontinued the contraceptives, the two last children were born in quick succession.

 

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Kulu out of desperation, had take In
to abstinence as a method of contraception, as he didn’t want
 any more children, given his meagre earnings as a casual laborer. But his abstinence brought no peace in his home because his wife suspected him of having a ‘mpango wa kando’ (a secret lover). “I need a solution and I need it immediately,” Kulu told Lucy. “Kindu kiu kitawa coil kiilye ata?” (How does this thing called coil look like?) Kulu inquired. That is when Lucy explained the coil, an Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD): what it is, how it looks like, how it works and how it will help to solve his wife’s contraception needs. Kulu was convinced that the coil would solve his problems. It was now time to convince his wife.

Kulu invited Lucy to their homestead
to have a session with the couple. After the counselling, Kulu’s wife agreed to get the IUCD and was later inserted the coil at the Tunza Clinic in Kabati market.

Seven months later, Kulu and his wife came to thank Lucy for helping them find a solution to their contraceptive needs. The couple is now enjoying their marriage with the only focus being bringing up their six children.

“Thank you for helping us save our marriage” Kulu’s wife said with a shy smile.

PS Kenya leverages the private sector potential to improve long term family planning service provision through Tunza by employing strategies to empower low income women access high quality family planning services. These services are supported by robust demand creation at the community aimed at breaking any barriers to uptake of services whilst driving foot traffic to the clinic for service providers.

 

 

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LETS GIVE IT UP FOR THE DADS!!

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Ever wondered about why it is your mum that mostly took you to the clinic for immunizations and other checkups and not your dad? The reasons are endless and in some parts of Kenya, it is the way of life because tradition dictates that women take care of the children. However in Kipkelion, one man has decided to let this aspect of tradition rest with the ancestors.

MEN WHO CARRY LONG LASTING INSECTICIDE-TREATED NETS (LLINS)

STANLEY
Stanley Chepkwony and his wife Dorcas Chepkwony outside Kipkelion Sub-County Hospital where they received a long lasting insecticide treated mosquito net.

Male participation remains a key factor in determining how women seek health services across the globe. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations agree that when men accompany their wives for various health services it will lead to more women seeking health services. This is because the couple has harmonised attitudes and cultural perceptions about seeking health services.

 

FATHERS DAY

This is especially true in Rift Valley region in Kenya where use of Long Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets (LLINs) largely requires the involvement of men. Stanley Chepkwony is one man who has broken ranks with most men in his region by accompanying his wife to seek health services. I met Stanley as he was coming from Kipkelion Sub-District hospital with his wife, Dorcas Chepkwony, who was carrying their 3-month old baby on her back. Not only was he challenging taboo by accompanying his wife to the clinic, Stanley was also carrying a Long lasting Insecticide-treated Net (LLIN) and the umbrella that shields the baby from the sun. “I decided that since the baby belongs to us, it is important that we visit the clinic together. I always support her and she loves this,” said Stanley. He went ahead to explain that his wife really benefited from the first net that she got during her first pregnancy. “Malaria is a bad disease and that is why I am carrying this net. I really thank the company that gives us these nets for free (PS Kenya), because they really protect our wives and children from Malaria,” Stanley said.

Creating awareness among men on the importance of sleeping under a net all year round is a priority in this part of Kenya. Being an epidemic Malaria zone, the disease is not rampant hence most people take lightly the issue of LLIN use. Men also need more targeting since most women have changed their attitude towards LLIN use owing to the free net program by PS Kenya. Having men understand this is important owing to their role as decision makers in the family. Women are more likely to use nets to protect their children when their partners are concerned about their health. As Stanley puts it, “Men need to work with their spouses in the fight against Malaria. They should also take their women to the clinic for immunizations and ensure that they collect LLINs.”

But his way of doing things is contrary to the lifestyle of the region where most do not accompany women to the clinic let alone carry LLINs for their wives. “Some men don’t care but I do. I don’t even fear carrying a net as we go home,” Stanley points out.

Throughout the interview, his wife Dorcas beams with pride at the support that she has received from her husband. “He has been very supportive and always insists that we use a net at home. This has reduced cases of Malaria in my family,” says Dorcas.

Through its campaign, ‘Msimu wowote’, PS Kenya seeks to reinforce the use of LLINs all year round by the whole family. This message, currently running on various mass media platforms including television and radio makes men a part and parcel of Malaria prevention through the use of LLINs for whole family protection against malaria

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PS KENYA WOULD THEREFORE LIKE TO WISH THAT YOU HAVE A…

WEEKEND

AND TO ALL THE FATHERS OUT THERE…

FATHERS DAY 12

 

 

 

CELEBRATING THE DADS – EDITION 2

As part of our continuing Fathers Day series this week, we share another story about Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) which also falls under PS Kenya’s Health mandate in ensuring the improvement of healthcare services towards every Kenyan. The article gives a detailed description of what the VMMC programme entails and the experience through the eyes of a beneficiary.

Lets Dig In…

EMBRACING VOLUNTARY MEDICAL MALE CIRCUMCISION (VMMC)

ERIC AND HIS FAMILY
Erick Okoth Otieno and his family

36-year-old Erick Okoth Otieno, a teacher by profession at Aoch Muga Primary School Special Unit, resides in Kajulu Sub location, Sinema village and is married with three boys aged between 1 and 10 years.

When Eric heard about free Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) services being offered in public health facilities, he did not bother to seek the services since most of the facilities around him were crowded with young boys whom according to him were influenced by peer pressure to get circumcised. “I thought that the services were not meant for adults like me,” said Erick.

Voluntary medical male circumcision was rolled out in the community after a scientific study showed it reduces HIV prevalence by 60% in heterosexuals and also helps in the reduction of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in uncircumcised men and by extension their female counter parts who also benefit in the reduction of cervical cancer cases as a result.

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One day as Erick was conducting his usual duties, he met a VMMC mobiliser who talked to him about the services offered at a small fee at Johpas Medical Clinic, a private clinic which is a member of the Tunza Family Health Network. He then decided to seek more information about the services offered at the clinic where he found a very friendly and knowledgeable service provider. Erick was worried about the pain of undergoing VMMC and the healing duration, which were well addressed by the service provider.

The services are offered as a package that targets HIV Testing and Counselling (HTC), Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) screening/treatment and male sexual reproductive health including gender based violence.

Erick decided to book a date for the surgery in a week’s time to allow him to close school and go through the procedure during the holidays. His wife who is also a teacher usually attends trainings during the holiday and Erick thought that this would be an advantage to his healing process since he had not discussed with the wife.

When his wife returned from the training and found out that Erick had undergone a successful circumcision and was almost healed, she congratulated him and even supported his healing process. Erick’s wife had received information on the benefits of VMMC but feared sharing the same with her husband as it would have generated a heated debate and she was afraid that her husband would think that she perceived him to be promiscuous.

Since then, Erick and his wife communicate very freely in the family and even encourage other couples to communicate freely in solving their problems. Erick appreciates the services he got at Johpas Medical Clinic which is part of the Tunza Franchise Network that offers integrated health services. The clinic provider was recently trained on the new technique (Dorsal Slit) of VMMC for young adolescents.

PS KENYA FATHERS DAY

PS Kenya means Health

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

PS Kenya has been in Kenya for more than 20 years with a focus on providing health products and services that empower Kenyans to make healthy choices. Our interventions address the major health issues in sub-Saharan Africa: HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, Maternal Health, Non Communicable Diseases and disease threats to children under 5 years of age – Malaria, Diarrhea and Pneumonia.

In the time that we have been here, we have learned a lot; especially about ways to address the health challenges that Kenyans face while seeking positive healthy behaviors. This blog is a pathway to our achievements, challenges and lessons learned. We will take you to Kipkelion where one father has broken ranks with other men to do the unthinkable: accompany his wife and child to the post natal clinic; to Tana River where Kokane is resting easy every night because her twins are tucked safely under a mosquito treated net. We will show you how a community health worker convinced a mother of 7 to get screened for Cervical Cancer in Dandora Slums and also about the role model who is convincing women of Mt. Elgon to plan their families by using modern family planning methods.

We will share what our research has taught us about addressing controversial health issues as well as the impact we have made through our interventions.

Do join us as we share our journey with you and tell your friends to subscribe.