A nurse from the SIMAHO outreach clinic
assisting a village elder in Bulla Pamoja
As you travel along the Tana River, South East of Garissa, the earth turns to pale sand and thorny scrub. Dome-shaped shelters of fabric and plastic sheets stretched over bowed sticks form the homes of the small bullas (villages). Somali herdsmen take their camels and goats through this area to reach the banks of the river, or to graze after the reluctant rains pass through, but most of the people living in these tiny communities are the invisible minority people of Kenya's Northeast.
Often referred to as "shoulder tribes" people like the Waliwana and Munyoyaya are a forgotten people. Suffering marginalization and stigmatization, these landless communities squat along river banks and live in undeveloped areas like Bula Pamoja. Access to education and medical services are often great challenges.
"Bulla Pamoja is a village of 613 people, and the closest health facility is more than an hours walk away. For those who are not able to walk, such as the elderly and pregnant mothers, they turn to traditional herbal medicines. But these remedies have little effect. Lack of medical treatment has contributed to maternal deaths and high instances of preventable diseases. The need for immunizations, prenatal and postnatal care, and treatment for malaria were major needs when we first began to work here... Over the past five years, CBM has sponsored regular outreach clinics that come to villages like Bula Pamoja. People are examined and treated for ailments, referrals are made to the district hospital, new mothers are given support and care, and children receive vaccinations and deworming."
Village outreach health clinic
"This project has provided medical care to the Bulla Pamoja community," shared our colleague Geofrey. "Through their participation in the project, the general health of the community has improved. One of the major acheivements has been a drastic reduction of maternal deaths. From two women and five infants in two years to just two infants since 2015. People are talking about the change."
"I have lost all my pregnancies due to complications," shared Fatuma, a young mother living in the village. "My husband tried traditional midwifes and doctors to no avail. Thanks to God, I now have a child. I am so thankful to the regular post natal clinics I've received through the assistance of CBM. God bless you."
Our CBM colleagues William and Geofrey meeting with members of
this community earlier in 2016
In the future, the community hopes that the government will establish a permenant clinic in their village. They have seen the importance of trained doctors and nurses, and the impact of vacinations and medications for their children. Moreover, the clinics have provided the entire community with public health education that has helped them with disease prevention, nutrition, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, and malaria prevention.
Please pray for this community and our team as we advocate for long term solutions to improve access to medical care and treatment.
We want to thank the many churches and individuals who have contributed to the success of these ministries in Northeastern Kenya. Your generous support is making a difference in the lives of many. If you would like to learn more about the work of Canadian Baptist Ministries in Kenya or around the world, please see our website at www.cbmin.org or follow this link to visit our information page of AIDS and Health Care.