Measles was the buzzword in the Nuru Healthcare Program last week. Alice Kenyanya, an experienced Nuru Healthcare Field Officer working in the Isibania division discovered the first cases of measles during a routine visit to the household of a Nuru farmer. During the visit, Alice became aware that 8 children were ill. She recognized the telltale rash and immediately referred them to a local health facility for urgent treatment. On a subsequent home visit on the same day, she identified two more cases and made referrals.

Alice also alerted her Field Manager, Nelly Andega about the measles outbreak. The Nuru Healthcare team then initiated an emergency response to the situation. A simple and informative fact sheet was created, and the Training Manager, Robert Ndiritu immediately developed a refresher training for the Healthcare Field Officers across Isibania and Kehancha Divisions. The measles message is also being passed through the other Nuru impact programs to ensure that it reaches the community quickly. The Field Officers have continued to make referrals of suspected cases of measles and the outbreak has given them more impetus for encouraging Nuru families to immunize their children (one of our 10 Healthy Behaviors).

Robert added an innovative section to the training that focused on the rights of the child to adequate healthcare, which is enshrined in the new Kenyan Constitution. This is a great example of Nuru’s ability to empower people who are living in extreme poverty.

The Ministry of Health confirmed the outbreak and began a countrywide campaign to raise awareness of the infection. Unfortunately the necessary medications are in short supply in the rural clinics, but the Nuru Healthcare team is making targeted referrals to the facilities that are able to acquire the medications.

Meanwhile, the first Social Marketing campaign is in full swing. The first product that the team is marketing is a high quality, low cost concrete latrine slab. The brand name for this product is the NuChoo – “Nu” to make the connection with Nuru, and “choo” being the Swahili word for latrine.

In just over three weeks, the team has spread the NuChoo message to over 1,500 people through a variety of channels that were identified during the systematic formative research process. To date they have attended over 30 events and the number of interested customers has significantly increased. We’re following the rule of seven– that people need to hear a message at least seven times before they take action – and are focusing our efforts on Isiabania Division in order to have the greatest chance of people hearing the message multiple times through multiple channels. One of the innovative messaging concepts that was created by Red Balloon Ideas was a simple coloring sheet. The Nuru Education Team distributed to school children at the end of their outreach sessions, and the children brought them home to their parents. Since this distribution we have noted an increase in NuChoo inquires, confirming that children can be important influencers in behavior change.

Isibania Field Officers

Nuru Healthcare Program Isibania Division Field Officers

The Social Marketing team also set up a NuChoo stand at the busiest market day in Isibania town and drew a crowd of over 200 people with their attractive banner, dance competitions and catchy messages. A political rally was also taking place increasing the number of people in our target audience (male decision makers) who heard the NuChoo message of affordability, durability and savings. Alice is featured in this blog for the second time as one of her children returned from the market event and told her about the NuChoo. Brand recognition is definitely on the increase as people have been shouting friendly greetings of “NuChoo” to Becky Okinda, the Healthcare Program District Manager, as she goes to buy vegetables!

Epuka gharama jenga NuChoo – Rescue Money, Buy NuChoo!

Isibania Market Event

The crowd at the market event in Isibania where the NuChoo was being introduced by the Nuru Healthcare Social Marketing team.