Services at Kenyan clinics
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