Dinah is a mother of three, twin girls and a boy. She lives in a rented house at Kabartonjo, a trading center in Baringo County.
Dinah was happy when she got pregnant with her third child. But she wanted to keep the pregnancy low profile.
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 woman who sells clothes at an open-air market near her home.
“I suspected she was pregnant, but it was not easy to tell because she wore big sweaters, says Leah. “One day I asked her.”
Dinah was at first now willing talk about her pregnancy but opened up when Leah explained her mission.
Leah, 62, is one of the community-based volunteers who have been trained by USAID’s Afya Uzazi program and the local county to reach out to pregnant women with health messages and encourage them to seek antenatal care.
The elderly volunteer escorted Dinah on her first visit to the antenatal care clinic. Visiting the clinic early was the best decision for Dinah. The visit probably saved her life.
Weeks before her due date, Dinah went to the clinic for the 4th routine visit. “It was at 10 am and I had planned to go back to her work,” says Dinah.
During a routine examination, health providers found that Dinah had high blood pressure and admitted her for observation. Hours later, they decided that with the condition, known as severe hypertension, it would be risky for her to continue carrying the pregnancy. They induced her to safely give birth.
Just before dawn the following day, Dinah gave birth to 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 the little boy.
The elderly volunteer and Dinah are now close friends.
“When I was admitted, I called her and she came to see me,” says Dinah. “She escorted me home with the baby when I was discharged.”
Leah regularly visits to check on Dinah and her children.