For the past 12 years, we have had the great privilege of partnering with Aspen. Each year, staff members from Aspen offices across the globe visit Adara’s projects on the ground to see firsthand the impact of this partnership. This year, we had the pleasure of hosting seven Aspen staff members at Kiwoko Hospital. As always, they left inspired by the incredible experience and invigorated by the knowledge that so much of this work has been made possible by Aspen’s support. They have been kind enough to share some of their stories and reflections with us.
By Jorge Canardo
What a cool first full day at Kiwoko we had!!!!
We did not stop one minute. There was everything on the menu: Church service, CBHC programme, Vaccination campaign on the Kiwoko surrounds, meeting with women living with HIV that are part of the Craft Ladies programme, soccer match (Peter played but unfortunately his team did not make it into the final) and finally a dinner with the Kiwoko and Adara staff.
Very early in the morning, Pastor Stephen and his congregation offered us a fantastic service. It was great to see all Aspen Ambassadors singing loudly and passionate along with the rest of the community. Peter Brandsen had the chance to introduce each of us at the end of the service. The charm and respect of the community given to us made us feel at home.
Then we went to meet Moses. Moses is Director of the CBHC programme. CBHC stands for Community Based Healthcare programme. His passion and commitment in what he does is admirable. Kiwoko, with the help of Adara, believes that prevention in several diseases is key to improving life expectancy and to safe motherhood. Prevention means education. The tremendous effort has to start at early stages to be effective and Moses has that very clear in his mind.
It all starts with adolescent girls with personal hygiene, vaccinations, food hygiene, sexual education and other vaccinations. Then it goes to pregnant women where hygiene is again key, plus nutrition and vaccination. Then the motherhood stage comes where on top of the above, family planning and physical examination play a key role.
The circle ends with babies and children where vaccination, deworming, monitoring and follow-up is absolutely essential.
Polio, BCG, Tetanus and Typhoid vaccines among others have proved to be extremely effective. For example, there has been not a single case of polio in 15 years in the community.
Anyway, the challenges are still big: not all mothers can reach the hospital because a) they may live far away or b) there have to many kids to take care of, therefore they cannot move all the kids. So, Moses has developed a programme to go with a van and reach rural areas which mothers can visit. Today 25 newborns were vaccinated during the visit. It took us the whole morning, but it was really worth to be part of.
After lunch, we visited the ladies living with HIV that are part of the Craft Ladies programme. Amazing work done by them that should be more or better promoted. We heard some stories and their experiences and again the passion and commitment by Kiwoko and Adara was also present.
What would be the life of the community in its entirety if Kiwoko did not exist? To think about it……
In the afternoon we took advantage of one of the semi-finals between two teams comprised of Kiwoko employees. One of our Ambassadors, Peter Bransden, took part. I am not going to qualify his performance, but his team lost 1-0 so they could not make it into the final……
Finally, we had a sort of Gala dinner with the heads of all Hospital departments and Adara team members. It was great to meet each of them and we had the opportunity to express our gratitude and receive a very warm message…. They love Aspen for all these years of support.
Somehow, we need to keep up this unbelievable work done so far at Kiwoko!!!!!!!