It’s early morning in Kehancha. The roads and footpaths are abuzz with all kinds of traffic. Children are cheerfully running towards school, farmers are headed to their shambas speaking animatedly about the weather and the prospects of a harvest better than ever before thanks to Nuru Kilimo (Kiswahili for agriculture). A glance down the valley reveals a group of young women navigating the bends of the steep path from the stream carrying water containers on their heads.  It’s sunrise and everyone is up and about with one thing in mind – working their way out of poverty.

Susan Mosenya, a Nuru Healthcare Field Officer from Kehancha Division is among the early risers. Wearing a Nuru branded backpack, a couple of mosquito nets in one hand and a clean water storage bucket on the other, Susan sets out for the day. While Nuru farmers work on their shambas, she will be working on their health. A short time spent with her is enough to make you realize how resourceful and committed the Healthcare Field Officers are.

Sunrise has a different meaning for Mama Matinde Momase, a Nuru Farmer from Kwirambo village. As she works on her household chores, her 2 year old daughter, Mary is running up down gathering her toys in readiness for a full day of “work”.  As Mama Matinde pauses to look at her bright, energetic daughter, she smiles and says a prayer of thanks.

Baby Mary was never able to walk. At 18 months old, she was not even able to stand on her own. Because of this, Baby Mary was permanently on her mum’s lap or back, never able to explore the wonderful world of babies. As for Mama Matinde, her activities were cut down to the essentials only since she had to care for little Mary around the clock.

Susan Mosenya, the Healthcare Field Officer, was quick to note the unusual condition of Baby Mary on her first visit to the household. Mary was extremely small for her age, thin, pale and had diarrhea. Though the parents knew that there was something wrong, they held back from seeking help due to the stigma of having a disabled child. Susan used the behavior change communication skills that she had learned from Nuru to tell Mary’s parents about the treatments available that could help their daughter and break down the barrier that was preventing them from getting treatment. At the end of Susan’s visit, it was agreed that Baby Mary would be taken to the nearest health facility the following day. Susan wrote a referral letter which Mama Matinde took with her to Tisinye Health Centre where the baby was treated and put on Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).

It’s now 4 months since that day. A beautiful girl who was headed for a stunted growth is now playful and active thanks to the intervention of the Nuru Healthcare Program. Better still, Baby Mary will not be the “baby” of the family for much longer because her mother is expecting another child in a few months! Unlike her previous pregnancy, Mama Matinde is up to date with her Antenatal Care clinic visits, has necessary vaccines, and all the plans are in place for her to deliver at the clinic.

As a result of Nuru Healthcare program interventions, the days ahead are looking healthier and brighter for baby Mary, her mother and so many other people.

Written by:  Robert Kihara, Healthcare Training Manager, and Becky Okinda, Healthcare District Manager, Nuru Kenya