Community Midwifery Approach- Birth Wise Networks

Fountain Africa Trust supports a network of Private Community Midwives in Kenya who provide safe delivery services within the communities where they live. The aim the community midwifery approach is to improve access to and utilization of skilled attendance at birth for pregnant women especially in rural and marginalized communities.

The Birth Wise Network is an affiliate member of the National Midwives Association of Kenya. Midwives in the network offer maternal health services including Antenatal Care, Safe Vaginal Delivery, Postnatal Care, Cervical Cancer Screening, STI treatment, Family Planning, Growth Monitoring and Immunization among other services at an affordable fee. Clients pay for services in cash and in kind. Fountain Africa has over the years assisted and participated in setting standards for Birth Wise Network members, enrolling new members, providing supportive supervision to members, undertaking capacity building in Family Planning methods and business skills as well as adolescent-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, safe delivery, and care of the newborn to the Network membership.

Birth Wise Network provides an ideal and supportive partner in implementation of maternal and newborn health programming and Fountain Africa Trust greatly benefits from this partnership.

Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Programming

Fountain Africa’s goal for Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health programming is to reduce maternal and infant/child mortality and increase utilization of user-friendly reproductive health services. The aim is to ensure that all members of the community survive and thrive.

(1) Collaborative Newborn Support Project

Newborn mortality is a serious health problem in Bungoma County, Kenya, with the rate at 33 deaths per 1000 live births against a national average of 22 per 1000 live births (KDHS 2014).  Approximately 50% of mothers in Bungoma County deliver at home. This puts babies, at risk of infections and death. Poor neonatal infrastructure as well as negative cultural barriers complicates the matter. The collaborative newborn support project implemented by Fountain Africa Trust in collaboration with Mount Kenya University and the County Ministry of Health in Bungoma was designed to address this gap.

Key activities undertaken under this project are:

  • Upgrade newborn units in County and Sub-County hospitals in Bungoma County. Hospitals targeted included: Bungoma County Hospital; Webuye County Hospital: Kimilili Sub-County Hospital: Chwele Sub-County Hospital; Mt. Elgon Sub-County Hospital; Sirisia Sub-County Hospital; Bumula Sub-County Hospital; and Naitiri Sub-County Hospital. 
  • Training of health workers to improve skills and confidence in newborn health care.

(2) Call Centre Services

Fountain Africa Trust runs a Call Centre through which expectant mothers identified through Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and ANC clinics are followed. The follow-up is meant to ensure that the mothers deliver in health facilities or with the assistance of trained and skilled health providers and that the health of their newborns is monitored over time. The Call Centre offers personalized consultations to pregnant and new mothers to ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby are taken care of. Mothers and babies who are found to have any form of complications are referred to the nearest health facility for appropriate care. During the duration of the Collaborative Newborn Support Project (2017-2018), the Fountain Africa Call Centre reached over 10,000 mothers with personalized health consultations to improve care for the mothers and their newborns in the community. Sick babies identified during consultations were referred to appropriate health facilities for interventions and CHVs detailed to follow up on post-treatment outcomes back at home. 

Support to Persons Living with Disabilities

People with disability are among the most marginalized in many societies including in Kenya. Although the Kenyan Constitution states that all citizens be provided with equal access to services in the country, people with disability have difficulties in enjoying their constitutional rights. Disability constitute 10% of the population of Kenya. There are different types of disabilities ranging from physical to hearing impairment, blindness and mental disability, all of which require different specialization to facilitate their movement, and activities in life. Fountain Africa Trust initiated a project in Western Kenya that aims at enhancing the ability of people living with disability to earn a dignified living.

Fountain Africa Trust supports children with Autism Spectrum Disorder through the Austin Project.

Austin Kibeti was born in July 2010 and was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2013 when he turned 3 years. He attended City Primary School Autism Unit in Nairobi from 2015, up to Integrated Class 2. The Autism Unit is housed in a public primary school for low income families located on the Eastern part of Nairobi. The Unit offers integrated education and therapeutic services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Downs Syndrome and other neurological disorders associated with speech, learning and other life skills.

Unfortunately, the Ministry of Education does not provide extra finances to schools to cater for the special needs of autistic children. The Special Unit therefore disintegrated. Austin’s parents decided to relocate from Nairobi to Bungoma County. In Bungoma, there are no programs for autistic children, the community is not aware that children with ASD can go to school and acquire skills for them to live a normal life. They are considered either mentally retarded or schizophrenic.

Fountain Africa Trust has launched Project Austin in Bungoma County, to create awareness and support autistic children go to school. The cost of supporting one autistic child in school is US$ 800 (KES 80,000) annually. Our target is to reach 150 children with the program.

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