Going Digital from under the Trees

IMG_0175Gone are the days of training people in meeting rooms, I’ve run numerous sessions in schools, churches, tents and even outside under the trees. My first training module focused on Adherence to HIV/AIDS medication. We’ve now also developed a second module that focuses on the medicine used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS and Opportunistic infections (that is infections that you are likely to get if you have a weakened immune system). During these sessions we discuss the goals of the treatment, how the medicine work and their side effects. To assist with remembering the information, we’ve created a laminated leaflet (it is wet season in Kenya, you have to think about protection!) and have a bag full of medicine to look at during the training.  Below is a photo of the leaflet at one of the training sessions…IMG_0206

Kenya is going digital: over 77 percent of the population have mobile phones. Did you know that over a period of 3 months Kenyans send over 1.5 billion text messages! This trend presented me with the perfect opportunity when I was searching for a way to follow up on the training and to remind tIMG_0208he CHW of the key messages. To make it even better, I can buy 500 text messages for 20 Kenyan Shillings a day…..that is only £0.15 a day! What a bargain.

I’ve collected the mobiles numbers during my training session and developed a series of “Top Tips” that I send out. I’ve received brilliant feedback on this and it is so easy to do this. First of all, it is great that I can stay in contact with the CHW after the training sessions and secondly, people now remember my name is Melanie (and not Melony ;-)).  Sometimes the simplest thing makes a huge difference…

As the text message programIMG_0210 is proving successful (easy to run & effective) my final objective is to ensure its longevity in that when I depart Kenya, in July, the Ogra team will continue with & even expand the program.

Quick update on “Operation Cow”: We are awaiting the calves to be born; the first calf is due within the month. It will be great when the dairy cows start to produce milk as the Omen Feeding Centre will make some money by selling the milk, oh and drink some for themselves! P.s for those who don’t know this, a cow only starts produce milk when her first calf is born 😉

Another income generated activity that we’ve started is dairy goat farming. It works on the same principle as the dairy cows, they are just cheaper, they produce healthier, but less milk, oh and they smell very musty too!  A group of health workers at an Ogra supported Medical Centre in Osani (about 150 km from where we are living) will be running the project.   We’ve raised enough money to set the project up and buy 5 goats. 4 females and 1 male. Very pleased to say that my team in GSK sponsored the male goat! Thank you to all our friends and family who made this project possible.


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