Couples Journey through pregnancy, birth and childcare
Pastor Samuel Njoroge is a pastor at Deliverance Church in Kuresoi, Nakuru County.
He supported his wife Margaret through her pregnancy until the birth of their lastborn, accompanying her to the antenatal clinic at Kuresoi Health Centre five times.
As advised a community health worker, he helped her to make a birth plan. When the time to deliver came, he was ready and knew exactly what do.
He escorted his wife to Kuresoi the hospital as soon as labour pains started. Barely an hour later, Margaret delivered a healthy baby boy.
Samuel recalls the day. “She was preparing tea when she felt labour pains. She wanted to wait until the evening, but I insisted on taking her (to the hospital) . . . The doctor said he was very happy that we went on time. If had delayed, she would have delivered at home.”
He says escorting a pregnant woman to a hospital also provides an opportunity for men to receive services.
“I accompanied my wife when she went for her first clinic visit and when she was called by the doctor, the health providers checked my blood pressure and sugar level.”
In Baringo County, Christopher Yator and his wife Agnes, both pastors, are also leading by example. The couple, ministers of the African Inland Church in Salawa, Baringo Central Sub-County, are role models in USAID Afya Uzazi’s Champion Community Model. This is a social and behavior change intervention that promotes healthy practices for pregnant women, mothers and young children.
The approach makes it easier for parents or caregivers to make decisions on everyday actions that lead to healthy behaviors such as exclusive breastfeeding, making healthy meals for the family, or regularly visiting the clinic.
With USAID support, Afya Uzazi trained health care workers to be receptive to men accompanying women to the hospital by ensuring a conducive environment for them.
Some of the hospitals and outreach sites have set up desks where men get health checks as they wait for the mothers.
The services for men include screening for high blood pressure, diabetes, malaria, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted infections. Men also receive health education on topics that include nutrition, family planning and prostate cancer.
Sixty men trained as family planning champions reached 2,118 men with messages on contraceptive options. Another of 3,293 men who received messages were through dedicated desks at community outreach events.