CHAT's camel clinics provide integrated health services to remote communities in northern Kenya
What is CHAT?
A Kenyan organization, Communities Health Africa Trust’s (CHAT) mobile clinics provide integrated health services to rural communities throughout central and northern Kenya. Over 80% of the people living in these communities have little or no access to other health services. Many are transient, semi-nomadic pastoralists and most live in extreme poverty, subsisting on less than $2 per day.
CHAT delivers a range of integrated services including basic curative care (for example, upper respiratory tract infections or malaria), HIV/AIDS testing and counselling, TB testing and referrals, child immunizations, and education about female genital mutilation. However, the clinic’s primary emphasis is an innovative strategy of holistic family planning incorporating an ecological awareness and sensitization component.
Since its inception in 2000, CHAT has proven to be a grassroots success story. Last year alone, for example, CHAT provided nearly 30,000 people with the contraceptive of their choice and some 12,600 were tested and counselled for HIV/AIDS. CHAT’s bright yellow Land Rovers and its Kenyan staff are a welcome sight wherever they go.
In Northern Kenya
In remote northern areas, where roads are very poor or non-existent, CHAT uses specially outfitted camel mobile clinics. Usually travelling for a month at a time, the clinic moves steadily across a broad area, stopping for a day or two in a location providing door to door services before packing up and moving on. People, mainly women with their children, flock to see the staff, often walking many kilometres to seek help.
In terms of reproductive health alone, the camel clinics have proven to be hugely successful, with literally thousands of women seeking long-term contraception.
Unfortunately, while the need and the demand are clearly great, funding for these clinics fluctuates and CHAT is not able to operate as many camel mobile clinics as is so desperately needed.
A month-long camel clinic costs $10,000. This includes wages (for the medical team and support staff), food, camping gear, and, of course, medical supplies. Given the large numbers of people the clinic helps, and especially the women seeking long-term birth control, a mobile camel clinic is a very cost-effective enterprise.
Any help that you can provide for this would be gratefully appreciated. All donations received by The Small Project for CHAT will be sent to them for the purpose of running a camel mobile clinic.
Please see how to donate.
Family Planning and Ecological Awareness
CHAT’s focus on integrating ecological awareness with family planning has dramatically improved the quality of life for thousands of Kenyan women and, by extension, their families, their communities, and their environment. By reducing population pressures, indigenous flora and fauna are able to thrive, reducing risks to endangered and vulnerable species such as the African elephant, the Black rhino, and the lion.
An investment in family planning is also an investment in wildlife conservation.
Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between the widespread availability and use of family planning and the health of the natural environment and the conservation of wildlife. This idea is not widely known or properly understood in many parts of the world.
Access to affordable family planning is a true cost-saving intervention.
Learn more about CHAT on their website. http://www.chatafrica.org/