Birth in the time of cholera

Four years after losing their first baby, Jemimah Leperesian and her husband Benson Aengwo received a special gift: twins. However, the timing of the birth―amid a global pandemic―presented challenges. 

Jemimah, who lives in Kampi Samaki, Baringo County, went into labour at 8 p.m., one hour into a nighttime curfew instituted to curb the spread of COVID-19. Jemimah called Catherine Cheruiyot, a community health volunteer who had monitored the pregnancy closely and helped her plan for a safe delivery.

“She told me to carry my clinic card and call a taxi to take me to the hospital,” Jemimah, 24, recalled. “She also told me to call the local village chief if we needed help.”

Afya Uzazi helped train community health workers like Catherine on how to stay safe from COVID-19 and handle emergencies, such as helping pregnant women get to a health clinic after curfew.

Without this support, Jemimah might have had this high-risk delivery at home. Instead, she safely delivered her twins at a health facility. Jemimah said that Catherine later helped her with the challenge of breastfeeding twins and taught her about good nutrition.

This story was published in USAID’s Exposure platform in February 2021. Photo: Mwangi Kiruki.