- Katherine O'Brien
3 Days of Women's Group Training
In late February 2023, the ACCIH and Kaperur Community Based Organization (CBO) hosted a 3 days women’s group training activity at the TERMES Center with funding from Probitas Foundation. Participants from 8 different CBOs in the region gathered at the TERMES Center in Chemolingot to learn about kala-azar, trachoma, and snake bites, as well as how to make soap and reusable sanitary pads, in an ongoing effort to increase health education and teach the community new ways to promote health. These three neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) were chosen because they significantly impact the community and kala-azar and snake bites can all be fatal when left untreated.
The days each started with a song and a prayer led by Elijah (a Kaperur CBO leader) and the CBO members, which brought positive energy into the conference hall. Day 1 focused on kala-azar, with a lecture led by Dr. Matundura of Chemolingot Sub-County Hospital (CSCH). Members were attentive as they learned about signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention. In the afternoon, part 1 of the soap making commenced. When individuals wash their face with soap, their risk of trachoma is reduced. By training the CBOs and giving them the chemicals and other supplies needed to make large quantities of soap, we are hoping to reduce risk and prevalence of trachoma in the region which was as high as 12.8% in 2019. Hellen Losiapus, a local community member, trained everyone on the different chemicals involved in the soap and how to make it. Then, the members split up into 3 groups and tried it out. It involved lots of stirring for about an hour and a half. Then, the soap was left to sit overnight.
Day 2 education focused on trachoma. This lecture was given by Jackson Marambu, and again focused on signs and symptoms and treatment, as well as the SAFE Strategy for prevention (surgery, antibiotics, face washing, and environmental improvement). Members were given flashlights and shown how to identify serious trachoma. The afternoon activity was a continuation of the soap making, which included adding color and perfume to the soap. After some more mixing, the soap was completed, and was divided into containers for the participants to take home the following day.
On the final day, members learned about snake bites, taught again by Dr. Matundura. There was some screaming and light laughter coming from the conference hall as members acted out how they would respond if they saw a snake. Dr. Matundura focused on the different types of snakes found in Baringo, what their venom does to the body, and how to safely live with snakes. Snakebite envenomation is a big problem with 51 cases in 2021 and 53 cases in 2022.
After some light refreshments, we began the training on crafting reusable sanitary pads. A brief lecture on female reproductive health was led by Kaperur CBO program manager and ACCIH’s own Hellen Nyakundi. The crafting process involved cutting 3 pieces of fabric and then sewing them together, and the members enjoyed themselves as they did this. It is a very quick process that can be replicated easily. With the extra fabric, Kaperur CBO will hire some tailors in the community to make a large quantity of reusable pads to distribute.
At the end of the training, each participant walked away with 5 liters of soap, a reusable sanitary pad, a flashlight for identifying serious trachoma, a completion certificate, a branded T-shirt and the knowledge on how to prevent and identify kala-azar, trachoma, and snake bites. In addition, each CBO took home extra supplies to be used to teach others how to make soap. The members said that the training exercise was incredibly helpful. The training was a success, and CBOs in the region now have more knowledge and tools at their disposal to “kewanya”  NTDs.”