Mathare Slum Community Health Project ReportApril 13, 2011
National Council of Churches of Kenya
The National Council of Churches of Kenya is a long-standing partner of Global Ministries and is actively living out its faith by facilitating the delivery of social services to the people of Kenya. These service activities of the Council include strengthening member churches and empowering people with the capacities they need to change their own lives by improving their own health and that of their communities.
The National Council of Churches of Kenya has been managing community health care in the Mathare Valley Slum area since 1972 and serves a quarter of the 500,000 residents of the slum. The oldest slum in the city of Nairobi, Mathare, was built in 1954 for laborers who worked in rock quarries for Asian employers. Though nearly all employment opportunities are long gone, many people had nowhere else to go and stayed on. Mathare is a sprawling stretch of ten poor villages.
With most of the residents being unemployed and poor, very few can afford to pay for the maternity and other health services offered at the nearest health facilities; they subsequently fall prey to the quack doctors in the area and run the risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS. The National Council of Churches of Kenya proposed to open a maternity wing to the Mathare Community Health Center to serve to the needs of the expectant mothers in the Mathare Slum. However, the resources needed to build, equip, staff, and stock a full-service maternity unit were not available and not forthcoming; therefore, they opted to attend to the great needs for prenatal care and care for new mothers and babies arriving to the Community Health Center. The Health Center provides this important care as well as educational programs before and after birth in an attempt to lessen the gap between patients and affordable, competent care. Member church congregational leaders have also been trained in a program to encourage good parenting.
Gifts to Global Ministries designated for the Mathare Slum Community Health Care Center have been used in the work of prenatal care and care to mothers and infants. Mathare Slum Community Health Center also is very active in working with people with HIV and AIDS. In the past year, they trained 52 health workers to provide home-based care and encourage adherence to Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART). They also are providing nutritional support for those living with HIV and AIDS and others in need of this service.
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