Ser­vices at Kenyan clin­ics

Mail & Guardian - - Health -

about 12 hours over teeth-rat­tling rocky ter­rain to reach the wa­ter point de­scribed by lo­cal scouts, who ad­vise ki­mor­mor of­fi­cials on where to meet com­mu­ni­ties along their mi­gra­tory routes. And, if get­ting health work­ers and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to ki­mor­mor sites is half the chal­lenge, the other half is in­form­ing com­mu­ni­ties about a visit.

In the days be­fore a ki­mor­mor, health work­ers fan out across the area, ex­plain­ing what the out­reach will cover. They en­list lo­cal lead­ers to spread the in­for­ma­tion to the com­mu­nity and use Digi­so­mos, small bat­tery-pow­ered au­dio de­vices pre­loaded with record­ings that ex­plain the ki­mor­mor’s ser­vices in lo­cal lan­guages.

“Tra­di­tional lead­ers known as emurons play a big role in mo­bil­is­ing the com­mu­nity mem­bers to at­tend the ki­mor­mor,” says Echor, the nurse.

“They are more re­spected by men in the com­mu­nity and their word is taken se­ri­ously. So days be­fore the ki­mor­mor out­reach day, they go around the vil­lage in­form­ing peo­ple about the out­reach and why they should at­tend. This has helped so much in get­ting more peo­ple to come for the health ser­vices.”

Around 5pm, the ser­vices at the ki­mor­mor be­gin to wind down. Or­gan­is­ers dis­man­tle tents and pack left­over vac­cines and medicines into the backs of their ve­hi­cles. The last re­main­ing com­mu­nity mem­bers pick up their chil­dren and prod their cat­tle to be­gin the long walk back to their set­tle­ment.

Every­one, or­gan­is­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers alike, wants to get home be­fore the sun sets into an inky, un­bro­ken black over the bush. Com­mu­nity mem­bers es­pe­cially don’t want to stay put too long — it could in­vite the un­wel­come at­ten­tion of cat­tle rustlers. Ki­mor­mor team mem­bers, mean­while, will head to a lo­cal health cen­tre to stay the night be­fore driv­ing on to their next lo­ca­tion.

So they all say their good­byes quickly and head off. In three months, af­ter all, they’ll all be back to do this over again.

Out of sight: Around the world, men are of­ten ab­sent from clin­ics. Women, in part be­cause of preg­nancy, are more likely to seek out health­care for them­selves and their chil­dren. They’re also more likely to test for HIV be­fore their male part­ners. Photo: Baz Rat­ner/Reuters

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