#ONEMoms: Maternal- and family health care

The stories coming out of the ONEMoms’ trip to Kenya are remarkable. (If you need context, read my intro to ONEWeek, the collaboration between advocacy organization ONE and ten parenting bloggers).

Their first two days were spent observing work that comes out of the collaboration between the US Center For Disease Control and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), the scientific research arm of Kenya’s Ministry of Health.

Home-based HIV testing

From Karen Walrond (Chookooloonks):

On this particular day, we split up into groups of two, to shadow HIV home health care workers: KEMRI’s representatives who travel throughout the region, testing families for HIV, and counseling them on how to reduce the spread of the disease. Because many of the families in the region live in relatively remote rural areas, it can be difficult (and somewhat discouraging) to travel the long distances on foot to get to the clinics to determine their status — and so instead, KEMRI and the CDC come to them… [Read more >>]

Home-based HIV testing

Photo credit: Karen Walrond

Progress in the fight against infectious disease

From Amy Graff (BabyCenter):

When Doris arrived at the [Siaya Clinical Research Center] clinic pregnant and HIV positive, doctors entered her into a research program that allowed her to receive free medication, specifically ARVs, that decreases transmission of HIV from mother to child.

“It’s a joy to see a baby come out negative from a positive mother,” says Lilian Odhiambo, a nurse at Siaya. “Cases like this show that there’s hope.”

Before HIV positive mothers were given ARVs, the transmission rate was 25 to 40. Now that rate is 1.8 percent… [Read more, including advances against malaria and TB >>]

New hope for pregnant women with HIV

Photo credit: Morgana Wingard (ONE)

Community partnerships with the CDC

From Elisa Morgan (FulFill Magazine)

We’d arrived at the Lwak Nutritional Center, in Kisumu, a program focusing on maternal and child health. Recently, they’ve undertaken –- in partnership with ONE — an amazing study that follows pregnancies, birth outcomes and the health of children in a variety of stages of maternity, in order to learn what works best for moms and babies to live. The dancing women -– it turned out — were known as village reporters, elected by their communities to traipse through muddy paths to personally check on new moms and their babies, reporting back their progress to the Center for Disease Control… [Read more >>]

Village reporters

Photo credit: Morgana Wingard (ONE)

From Jyl Pattee (Mom It Forward)

The Centers for Disease Control set up a community volunteer program in villages near Kisumu in western Kenya. People who had recovered from tuberculosis stepped forward to be TB Ambassadors — a completely voluntary and time-consuming position to help fellow community members… [Read more >>]

TB Ambasadors

Photo credit: Morgana Wingard (ONE)

What you can do

Want to take action? There’s so much that can so easily be done from here. For starters:

  • These health clinics receive direct funding from the United States. Sign the ONE petition asking Congress not to cut funding for these effective programs that are saving lives. Then ask 5 friends to do the same.
  • The ONEMoms are meeting with couples and mothers living with HIV, tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases. Using the hashtag #ONEMoms, tweet a message (or messages) you’d like to deliver to mothers in Kenya.

More: The ONEMoms landing page at ONE.org, including a map of the locations they are visiting.