CFK Africa’s health programs in Kenya have long been run and led by women
NAIROBI, KENYA – Women medical professionals at CFK Africa are on the frontlines helping fight the coronavirus pandemic in Kibera, one of the largest and most densely populated informal settlements in Africa, located just outside of Nairobi, Kenya. The international nonprofit began distributing Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines through its Tabitha Medical Clinic in Kibera in October, and its primary healthcare program coordinator, Eddah Adhiambo Ogogo, has been leading the effort.
“In Kibera, women have long been key to our public health efforts, whether by encouraging hand-washing or taking steps to ensure the health of their children,” Ogogo said. “During the pandemic, these efforts have become paramount to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.”
Ogogo manages four clinics: the Tabitha Medical Clinic and Tabitha Maternity Home, the Lishe Bora Nutrition Centre and the Young Health and Wellness Centre, and she also oversees CFK’s Community Health Project. She touted her team’s tireless efforts noting in just one week alone they distributed nearly 180 coronavirus vaccines, and her goal is to administer 30 shots per day, on average, to residents of the community.
She said that women in Kibera help break intergenerational health disparities, the cycle of illness and disease, by educating their children on how to stay healthy as they grow up. Having women medical staffers at CFK is crucial to reaching out to other women in the community to encourage residents of Kibera to adopt public health recommendations, especially with its Covid vaccine distribution underway.
Ogogo and others on her team have been instrumental not only in rolling out the coronavirus vaccination initiative at the Tabitha Medical Clinic, but also in implementing CFK’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) efforts, which were already in place before Covid-19 but were expanded and retooled to help fight the coronavirus. Due to the success of its WASH initiatives, CFK became the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s lead implementing partner for WASH in Kenyan informal settlements.
In 2020, Ogogo and other staffers at CFK’s new Tabitha Maternity Home were acknowledged by the Gates Foundation as Frontline Heroes for ensuring continuity of care during the pandemic.
CFK serves more than 35,000 Kibera residents annually with primary health services ranging from maternity care, vaccine distribution and malnutrition treatment to mental health counseling, cervical cancer screening, and sexual and reproductive health education.
Co-founded by the late Kenyan nurse Tabitha Festo, CFK operates four health care clinics, two of which are named after Festo, who opened and managed CFK’s first clinic back in 2001. The organization also provides education and livelihoods training programs and girls’ empowerment initiatives.
“Women in our community are playing a critical role to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus in Kibera,” added Ogogo. “When a woman educates another woman on the best public health practices to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including the importance of getting the Covid-19 vaccine, she’s educating the rest of her family as well.”
About CFK Africa
Founded in 2001, CFK Africa improves public health and economic prosperity in Kenyan informal settlements through integrated primary healthcare services, education and economic development initiatives, and girls’ empowerment programming. Through a participatory development approach, CFK works directly with residents of Kibera to bring new opportunities to improve lives and alleviate poverty. In 2020, staff members at CFK’s new Tabitha Maternity Home were acknowledged by the Gates Foundation as Frontline Heroes for ensuring continuity of care during the pandemic. For more information, visit www.carolinaforkibera.org