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COVID-19 Halts Integrated Community Healthcare Project (ICHP)

The health facilities in Maasai Mara are not enough to serve and reach all the rural communities.

In 2019, the Integrated Community Healthcare Project (ICHP) was started to address Population, Health, and Environment issues in the Maasai Mara Ecosystem. The project actively aims to create awareness and increase understanding of and access to Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) across the Maasai Mara Ecosystem through an integrated healthcare approach.

The need for this ICHP project was identified in both the Mara Health Needs Assessment, undertaken by Amref, and the Population and Settlement research commissioned by Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA). In the first stages of project initiation, 70 elders and opinion leaders attended community meetings during which, they confirmed the need for this project and generated a lot of interesting potential solutions regarding how the project should raise and discuss SRH issues with men, women, and adolescent youth.

This project is an expansion of The Maa Trust's preventative healthcare work and focuses on increasing accessibility, uptake, and quality of healthcare services for communities in the Maasai Mara. Services are provided by:

  • six community-based mobilizers working door-to-door,

  • referrals to six partner facilities,

  • mobile medical camps in rural communities four times each month,

  • and backpack nurses satisfying unmet medical needs in rural communities.

During the first quarter of 2020, 1540 community members were reached through door to door, medical outreaches, and backpack strategies.

Despite the heavy rains in January and February that constrained most of the backpack activities as it was not safe for motorbikes to move around and bridges were washed away, nine medical camps were conducted in the following locations across the Maasai Mara: Mpopong, Ilbaan (twice), Enchorro Sidan, Olare Orok, Nkirgir, Olturotua, Rekero, and Kishermoruak. Unfortunately, the outreaches planned for March were not conducted due to the COVID 19 pandemic, which resulted in the Kenyan government canceling all public gatherings.

Different services were offered during these medical camps, including basic curative services, HIV testing and counseling, cancer screening, immunizations, maternal and child services, and family planning services.

“I feel safe and confident now. I used to wake up and spend most of my morning worrying I might be pregnant. Any slight body change would give me a scare. It has been stressful and today I feel unchained.” -Said one woman who received family planning services.

Due to the Corona pandemic and subsequent government regulations which led to the closing of The Maa Trust office and discontinuation of most activities, several scheduled activities have been halted. Some activities for March that did not take place, including four March medical camps, community meetings in Mara, Mother-daughter program, and backpack activities. We aim to resume these and other pending activities as soon as the government lifts restrictions.

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