GVI Shimoni Achievement Report: The initiation of the Health Project 2012

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A report documenting the initiation of the GVI Kenya Health Project in June 2012 and the extension of our support in the Shimoni community.

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17th July 2012

Shimoni HubGVI extends support to public health efforts in Shimoni through new Health ProjectAlready a big part of our teaching and community development programme, volunteers are now coming specifically to provide support to local health groups and public health initiatives in Shimoni and the surrounding area.

Health Project team: James, Patrick (Public Health Officer), Jess and Chrstina

James assisting at a malnutrition clinic

There are a number of public health issues affecting the small yet rapidly expanding population of Shimoni. In particular there is a high prevalence of HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis, malaria and respiratory tract infections. In 2011, out of 147 people tested for HIV, 87 were positive (59%). In the Msambweni District where Shimoni is based, there is a 40% infection rate for malaria. Therefore, public health is a major concern in the Shimoni area. Working hard to tackle these issues are a number of dedicated community members. Patrick Musyimi, the Shimoni Public Health Officer, is the government official responsible for implementing strategies to treat, prevent and educate members of the public on public health issues. The Shimoni Public Dispensary is a government run centre where members of the community can access health care and treatment for HIV/Aids, malaria, TB and malnutrition, as well as a range of other conditions. There is also a dedicated team of voluntary community health workers who are each responsible for 20 households, ensuring those with limited access to health care are taking their medication, referring them for further medical treatment where necessary. There are also a number of community based organisations (CBO) including Safe Shimoni, Rise and Shine and Made for You, committed to raising awareness and educating the public in a bid to reduce the prevalence of these health issues. As part of our teaching and community development program, GVI has been working to support public health efforts in Shimoni for a number of years, in particular providing advice and guidance, resources, capacity building and skills sharing workshops and more recently, implementing a computer literacy program with members of community health groups. The scope of work increased to such a level that we needed a team of

volunteers dedicated specifically to public health. In June 2012, we were very pleased to launch the Shimoni Health Project whereby volunteers come specifically to support public health initiatives in the area. With more bodies on the ground, we can now provide even more support. The main emphasis of the work we do is focused on providing support to local health groups to tackle public health issues affecting people in Shimoni and the surrounding area. We work closely with the Public Health Officer, local public dispensary, community health workers and community health groups. The work we do is focused on expanding the knowledge base of community health workers, educating local community members including adults and children on health issues in the area and providing capacity building training to local community member. The work volunteers do ranges from conducting and compiling research on health issues identified by the Public Health Officer, leading health talks at the local dispensary, leading computer classes and also planning and leading life skills classes at local primary and secondary schools. Topics we research include malaria, TB, HIV/Aids, Cholera, nutrition and vitamin deficiencies, pre and post natal care and drug abuse. The list is ongoing and ever expanding. This research provides an invaluable source of information for local health groups. James Nightingale, our first Health Project volunteer had this to say about his time on the Health Project: It is hard to sum up my experience on the project in such a small number of words Working at the dispensary was a great opportunity; it provided a real insight into the workings of the Kenyan health care system and I was exposed to the treatment of conditions that are almost unheard of in developed countries.GVI continues to work towards its long-term objectives to educate and raise awareness about public health issues in Shimoni. If you would like to read more about this project please visit our website: http://www.gvi.co.uk/programs/volunteer-healthcare-project-kenya And for the latest information from the field check out our blog: http://gvikenya.blogspot.com/