Chief Martha Chebii looks on with a smile as men and women from her community are called to receive certificates for practicing healthy behaviours.
“I am proud of what is happening today,” says Chief Martha. “In this community, most women used to give birth at home, but they now go to the hospital . . . Men never used to bother about clinics but they now accompany women to the hospital.”
Chief Martha was speaking during a graduation ceremony to celebrate mothers and men who have adopted heathy practices recommended under the Champion Community Model, a behavior and social change intervention that Afya Uzazi implements with county health teams in Baringo and Nakuru counties. The event was held at Ndambul B village in Kampi Turkana, Marigat, Baringo County.The Champion Community approach promotes good health by motivating families to carry out small doable actions that lead to adoption of practices that protect and enhance the health or pregnant women, mothers and young children.
This model encourages mothers to attend antenatal clinics, deliver in hospital, seek postanal care, practice family planning, practice exclusive breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding, among other behaviours. Chief Martha’s testimony is proof that this approach is working in her community.“In this community, it was common for children to be given herbs immediately after birth, but this has stopped because the people have been educated about exclusive breastfeeding,” she says. “Children used to diarrhea. Now they don’t.”
During the graduation, 87 families received certificates for achieving seven essential actions for pregnant women, mothers of children under one year and male partners. The Marigat Sub-County Public Health Officer Roselyn Leiro, who presented the certificates, commended the community for embracing change. She urged men to continue supporting the women during pregnancy and in childcare.
Since the Champion Community Model was introduced just over one year ago, about 4,000 families have benefitted.
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