Dinah: Visiting the clinic saved my life

Dinah, her son and Leah, a community health volunteer.

Dinah is a mother of three, twin girls and a boy. She lives in a rented house at Kabartonjo, a trading centre in Baringo County. 

Dinah was happy when she got pregnant with her third child. She did not attend antenatal clinic promptly as recommended. Like many women in the area, she planned to wait until late in the pregnancy to go to the hospital.

Often, on her way to work, Dinah would meet and exchange greetings with Leah Kopilo, an elderly community health volunteer who sells clothes at an open-air market near her home.

Leah, 62, is one of the community-based volunteers trained by USAID’s Afya Uzazi program and Baringo County to reach out to pregnant women with health messages and encourage them to seek antenatal care.

“I suspected she was pregnant, but it was not easy to tell because she wore big sweaters. One day I asked her about it.”

At first Dinah was unwilling talk about her pregnancy but opened up and revealed that she had not been to then clinic.

The volunteer told Dinah about the importance of attending antenatal early. Later, she escorted her to visit to the antenatal care clinic for the first time. Dinah made two other visits on her own.

Weeks before her due date, Dinah went back to the clinic for the fourth routine visit.  “It was at 10 am and I had planned to go back to her work,” she recalls.

During a routine examination, health providers found that Dinah had high blood pressure. They could not let her go home because the condition, known as severe hypertension, can be fatal for pregnant women.

A few hours later, they decided that it was be risky for Dinah to continue carrying the pregnancy. They induced her to safely give birth.

Dinah got a baby boy. She named him Emmanuel.

“It is important to go to the clinic because doctors can know if there is a problem... I am lucky I went to the hospital. It saved my life,” says Dinah, looking lovingly at her playful little boy.

Leah and Dinah became good friend. The volunteer continued to check on her and give her tips on how to care for her health and that of the children.