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Amref UK's Head of Operations Visits Nyeri County, Kenya

 

Steve Hindle (centre) meets with members of a diabetes support group in Nyeri, Kenya

Steve Hindle (centre) meets with members of a diabetes support group in Nyeri, Kenya

 

The Head of Operations of Amref Health Africa in the UK, Steve Hindle, traveled to Nyeri County, Kenya, to meet beneficiaries of the 'Management and Control of NCDs (Diabetes and Childhood Asthma) in Kenya' project, under Amref’s Institute of Capacity Development.

The GSK-funded project, in partnership with the Nyeri County Government, has trained Community Health Workers (CHWs) on proper management of diabetes and asthma in the county. Nyeri County is among the top counties in the country with heavy disease burden for both diabetes and asthma.

 

“We can all agree that each one of us knows someone who has diabetes or asthma; be it our friend, neighbour or family member,” stated Dr George Kimathi, the Director of the Institute of Capacity Development, who accompanied Hindle on the visit. “It is for this reason, the heavy burden of the diseases, that Amref and GSK have come together, with support from the Nyeri County Government, to help the community,” he added.

 

During the visit, Hindle met with members of the Wamagana Diabetes Support Group, which was formed by CHWs after the training they received. “As a support group, we not only spread the word and teach our community on proper management of diabetes, but we also help our members get the right medicine, and also go for check-ups when required. Since last year, when we were trained, our members have gotten healthier. We have grown from ten members to over 100 members now,” stated Bishop Kariuki, the Chair of the group.

 

To James Chege, the information he received from his CHW, Faith Wambui, about management of asthma, saved his life. “When I met Wambui, I was always sickly. I could not go to work and just stayed at home. I was a burden to my wife and children,” he narrates. Wambui was able to advice Chege on the technique of use of the inhaler. “Before I interacted with him, he would not leave the house before 10am as it was very cold. Right now, he can leave at any time he wants! He also got a steady job; helping people sell their cattle in the market,” narrates Faith. To Chege, the 'Management and Control of NCDs (Diabetes and Childhood Asthma) in Kenya' project assured his financial stability. “I am able to take care of my family and my children are in school. They no longer miss classes because of lack of school fees, as I can now afford to pay. Above all, I am healthy and do not use medication as often as before,” he adds.

 

“It is an honour to hear such great success stories, and to interact with beneficiaries of the project. I believe that indeed, the project is changing lives in the county, and ensuring both better service provision, and better management of the NCDs at the household level,” stated Hindle.

 

"I was impressed by the knowledge the members had on management and control of diabetes. They even helped me manage my own diabetes and soon, I was out of bed! [Today] I can work, I am healthy, and I honestly do not remember the last time I was bed ridden. The information we have received through the project saved my life."

Patrick Wuchiri, member of Wamagana Diabetes Support Group in Nyeri, Kenya

 

Through Leap, the mHealth solution, the 'Management and Control of NCDs (Diabetes and Childhood Asthma) in Kenya' project has trained 939 mid-level health workers, 199 Community Health Extension Workers and 1163 CHWs on diabetes and asthma. An additional 44 managers in the health docket have been trained on Leadership, Management and Governance. “In May this year, the CHWs screen 12,000 people for diabetes at the household level. Additionally, in the last three months, we have received 200 referrals of new cases that the CHWs have recorded at household level. As a facility, we have also noticed that less patients are coming back for medication due to the effort and the constant follow-ups the CHWs make at household level. All these have improved the management of both diabetes and asthma,” stated Anne Nduta, the in-charge at Wamagana Health Facility.

 

Her sentiments were echoed by Dr Muriu, the Director of Health, Nyeri County. “The project has helped improve our indicators. Our staff have been trained and the CHW are our link to the community. We appreciate the partnership and look forward to continuous engagement with both GSK and Amref Health Africa,” he stated.

 

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Story by Michelle Dibo - Communications, Amref Institute of Capacity Development, Nairobi