International Development Week: Highlighting Red Cross Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Kenya

Topics: National
February 06, 2014

February 2-8, 2014, is International Development Week; an opportunity to explore how Canadians are making a difference around the world.

Meet Mercy Chesitoi, a Community Health Worker in Kenya. Mercy works as a part of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health project under the Kenya Red Cross Society. This project is funded by the  Government of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.

Mercy has been a Community Health Worker since 2009 under different programs within the community of Nyangaita. As a first-time mother, Mercy never received counselling on child upbringing. She never sought any antenatal care for checkups or information on her pregnancy. Because of this, Mercy lacked adequate knowledge and skills in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH).

When Mercy was first recruited to be a Community Health Worker, her lack of knowledge made it difficult for her to provide services to women and children in the community. So in 2012, she was able to enroll as a Community Health Worker in the Red Cross MNCH project. As a part of the project, Mercy learnt the following among other items:

  • Importance of four antenatal visits during pregnancy
  • Individual birth plan
  • Importance of skilled delivery
  • Exclusive breastfeeding
  • Family planning
  • Hygiene

Mercy has benefited tremendously from the trainings offered to the Community Health Workers in the region. She has gained valuable skills which she has not only passed on to her own community, but she has been applying the skills in her own life as a mother.

Read more about the work of the Canadian Red Cross on improving the health of mothers, newborns and children.

Section Widgets