UNICEF Kenya receives a generous funding to provide protection of refugee children

Today, 20th June is the World Refugee day. This is the day when the world commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.

Kenya hosts almost half a million refugees.  Over 20,000 children are unaccompanied or separated from their families or caregivers after they have fled conflict and drought in the region.

Bird's view of dadaab refugee camp

The good news is, UNICEF Kenya and the European Union will work together to provide child protection and education services that will benefit refuge children in Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camps.

The European Union has committed €800,000 for UNICEF’s humanitarian response programmes to help refugee children in Kenya. The funding will support humanitarian child protection and education services for children in Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps.

The Representative of UNICEF in Kenya, Werner Schultink said, “We are grateful to the EU for this generous funding that will help strengthen our education and child protection activities in Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps. The support will greatly enrich our work with UNHCR and other partners, in building the much needed resilience and social well-being of every refugee child in the camps”.

Children living in Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps face many challenges.  Insufficient basic services and overcrowding have worsened an already stressful environment for children. Moreover, these children are vulnerable to numerous forms of violence and abuse.  Without education and its support, these children are at risk of further violence and losing hope – undermining their own future and that of their community.

Children attending an outdoor classroom

Through the EU grant, UNICEF plans to reach 25,000 children, half of whom are girls, with education and child protection interventions. Furthermore, the EU humanitarian aid will enable at least 2,000 out of school children, who have recently arrived to enroll in primary and pre-school education.  An additional 16,500 learners will also benefit from the provision of teaching and learning materials, and 420 primary school teachers will receive training on basic teaching skills, with a focus on teaching in situations of crisis.

With this support from the European Commission, UNICEF will continue to strengthen all-inclusive education and child protection services that cater to the immediate needs of refugee children and their communities.

world refugee dayworld refugee day hashtag

It’s going to be a terrific two!!!

Thank you for your congratulatory message. No, we are not celebrating another newborn. We are celebrating Jabali’s triumphant entry into terrific two!!!!! Yes, Jabali is officially two years today. Welcome into our world.

Exactly two years ago, on a bright Monday at 6.55am, my eyes met Jabali’s and I was smitten!

PG ALONE COLOURED

I went for admission on Sunday, 17th May for a  CS  scheduled for Monday morning. I was 39 weeks pregnant. Immediately my crew that consisted of my hubby, my sister  plus her son and my sister in Love left, I started crying. I was so emotional. So many things crossed my mind. I remembered the last time I was in this same hospital where I returned home with a CS wound, leaking breasts but nothing to show. I refused to eat and kept calling my hubby with clear instructions no clear and stern demand to be at the theatre door by 5am. I still remember this day and laugh so hard because my pregnancy brain told me my son could be stolen or maybe something worse. I was too paranoid maybe because going into hospital heavily pregnant and coming out empty-handed isn’t funny.

I had been instructed not to eat after 8pm- I had refused the food anyway but when hunger came knocking at around 7.30pm, I remembered I would stay for so many hours before eating after the surgery. That provoked me to swallow my pride and recall my dinner. I pounced on the food and washed it down with apple juice before covering my head to sleep.

No, I didn’t sleep. I tossed and tossed and kept calling my hubby and my sister reminding them to be in hospital early- yes by 5am on the dot. It took the intervention of my mum to calm me down. Like Esther, I said I am going into that theatre boldly with my God and if I perish, let me perish.

‘Good morning Lourdes’, amka uoge Dr. Murage is an early person, he will be here in no time’. A friendly nurse told me.

I said a quick prayer and took my 80+kg self to the bathroom.

At 5.30am, I was wheeled to the theatre. It was my official date with destiny. I was nerves but hopeful. I prayed for everything including the needles and the gloves and everything that will come into contact with me and my son including the sheets lool.

‘My name is Dr. Chirchir, I am your Aesthetician’
‘I am Dr. Maina, I am a pediatrician and I am here to receive the baby’
‘And of course I am Dr. Murage and you know why I am here’ (hahahaha)
‘I am…..

The introductions continued. I must say I had a super friendly team.

Fast forward, theatre rituals continued as we chatted here and there. I felt some pressure coming from my tummy just as Dr. Chirchir had told me and at exactly 6.55am, I heard the cry of my Jabali, he was immediately placed on my chest and I was asked to confirm his sex.

young jabali

It is a boy…oooh my son! Please place him again on my chest! Thank you Jesus’ I shouted as all the personnel present congratulated me.

It has been 730 days, 14 hours 2 minutes 17 seconds since you came into our lives Jabali. You have brought nothing but love and laughter.

You just make us so happy Kababa. I have quite a number of my favourite phrases but I love the following more:

Mum unado?
Amen!!!
Mum, good boy!!!!
I love you!!!!
Tuonane jioni!!!
Thank You welcome too!!!!
Daddy ya Jabali ameenda jobo!!!!

JABALI SWEETY

This is to say, in the last twelve months since your 1st birthday, your experience and age has doubled… and so has your intelligence and cuteness.

You know what babzie, I don’t mind if you lose your baby fat and chubby cheeks, but please don’t ever lose your innocence, your love and respect for others.

This is my sincere prayer to you:

  • May you receive enormous favour before God and man
  • May everything you touch turn into gold
  • Where others experience shame, you will experience honour and glory
  • Where others are rejected, you will be accepted
  • Where others fail, you will succeed
  • Where others experience delay, you will advance
  • You will reach your destiny Jabali and I know Daddy and I will be there to witness it and give you a pat on the back.

Whether you turn two or twenty-two, all you need to remember is that Daddy and I Love You and so are your grand parents, aunties, uncles, nieces and nephews, neighbours and everyone you have ever came across. No doubt you are a magnet and gem son.

JABALI DIGITAL

You will definitely cut your cake and receive more hugs and kisses and a gift. Happy 2nd birthday Jabali, Jabjab, Jababa, Kababa, Kababzie, Kampenzi ka mum!

Malaria in numbers

Today, 25th April 2017 is World Malaria Day.

 
Did you know…

  • That nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria?
  • That in 2015, there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429000 malaria death?.
  • That Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden?
  • That in 2015, Sub-Saharan Africa was home to 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths?

I can go on and on with numbers but the bottom line is malaria is dangerous to everyone and even more dangerous to pregnant mothers and children under the age of five. That is why the call for closing malaria gap is salient.

Pamoja tuangamize malaria!!!!!!

 

MALARIA DAY 2

MALARIA DAY 4

MALARIA DAY 3

MALARIA DAY 5

MALARIA DAY 1

Should war on FGM be intensified in the urban areas?

Last Friday, I posted the following on my Facebook timeline:

Every February 6th is the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. In Kenya, this year’s national celebrations will be held in Sankuri location, Garissa County.
The theme of the celebrations is “Working Together to End FGM by 2030”.
Ending FGM, My Responsibility.

fgm-photo

 

As I was preparing to go home having finished the day’s work, a male colleague came to my desk and we somehow found ourselves taking about the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM as I had posted. Being aware of the fact that he comes from a community that largely practices FGM, I asked him if he thinks it is possible to stop the menace- his answer left me with a toothache.

‘This thing will not end soon Lourdes. People are coming up with creative ways of doing FGM every other day. For example doing it at a younger age to reduce public scrutiny while taking advantage of the child’s inability to resist and because there must be a form of celebration, it is done in the disguise of a birthday party and only very close family members are aware of the real celebration’

I looked him straight in the eye and asked, ‘would you allow your daughter to undergo the cut?’

 
His answer left me with a bitter taste in the mouth.

‘We are not talking about me here but again, what would I do? Remember she has a mother and even if I resist, her mother will report me to our family members thus turn me against them. I will look like the bad one here- if she insists, I will just have to corporate for peace sake’

This clearly explained why urban women are more likely to be circumcised at the youngest age range of 5-9 years than rural women.

 
According to UNICEF, 9.3 million women and girls, or 27 per cent of all women and girls in Kenya, have undergone genital mutilation, placing Kenya 17th among the 29 countries in Africa that carry out the practice.

fgm
As the world marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, statistics reveal the war against the practice is far from over, with a trend over time to circumcise girls at increasingly younger ages. In some parts of the country, infant FGM is being practiced on days-old girls. This is because they want to keep it a secret and therefore do it fast enough before the law catches up with them.

 
FGM causes significant health risks including bleeding, infections, and fistula, complications during sexual intercourse and childbirth, and even death.

 
To preserve our next generation, this should be the rallying call: ‘Ending FGM, My Responsibility’

fgm-by-numbersStatistics courtesy of The Daily Nation

The encouraging state of maternal health in Rwanda

Every day, 800 women around the world die for reasons related to pregnancy or childbirth. And some 5.7 million women annually suffer severe disabilities following childbirth.

But there’s another positive side to this story. Maternal mortality has generally decreased by half since 1990 and this includes even in places that are extremely poor. New technologies and health care approaches, better infrastructure, and creative government policies are changing the odds for pregnant women and their families.

Someone dear to me will be traveling to Rwanda soon and that, together with my passion for Maternal, Newborn and Children health ignited me to acquaint myself with the state of maternal and children health in this country of a thousand hills, which my French brothers will call “Pays des Mille Collines”.

I was pleased with the facts  that I got. I know you have an idea of this country, Rwanda, but allow me to refresh your mind a little. Between April and June 1994, an estimated 1 million Rwandans were killed, 2 million displace and health systems destroyed in the space of 100 days.

map-of-rwanda
Despite that, Rwanda’s maternal mortality ratio decreased by 77 percent between 2000 and 2013 and currently stands at 320 deaths per 100,000 live births. Under-5 child mortality also reduced by more than 70 percent making it one of the few African countries to meet goal 4 and 5 of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

rwanda-matertal-mortality-ratio

Many factors created this success story:

  • Rwandan government subsidizes a national health insurance scheme, which has led to increased use of family planning, prenatal care and health facilities.
  • Midwives and other clinical officers are trained in emergency obstetric care.
  • Women are fined for giving birth at home, and doctors are financially rewarded for high quality obstetric care.
  • Rwandan clinics have focused on improving their quality. Many strive to keep regular clinic hours, well-staffed and supplied clinics, good hygiene practices and respectful staff.
  • By 2012, there was one doctor per 16,000 people and one nurse per 1,300 people. Before 1997, Rwanda had no trained midwives, but now there are around 1,000. Rwanda established new standards for quality of care, and in 2010, delivery by a skilled provider was at 69 percent, as was delivery in a health facility
  • Rwanda’s government is committed to providing universal health care as part of its Vision 2020 Strategy.

In 1995, most development agencies were ready to give up on Rwanda, then one of the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world. But now, Rwanda is one of the few countries on track as far as maternal, newborn and children health is concern. Mine is to say kudos Rwanda. Kenya is behind, but i am positive we will get there too…someday!

kenya-maternal-mortality-ratio

Please come let’s stand with Wayne…

wayne-2

One Monday, as Wayne was riding a bike with his best friend, he fell and sustained serious head injuries which resulted in a surgery at Nairobi hospital.

He has been at Nairobi Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for 3 weeks but recently transferred to High Dependancy Unit (HDU) after showing great signs of improvement.

It’s been a long, hard, painful ride, especially for his parents Nana and Tony. The bill so far is so huge and this is where you and I come in together with our intercessions.

Kindly find it in your hearts to give something for Master Wayne. It can be 10/=, 100/= 1000/= 10000/=, it can be anything but the beauty is, it will go a long way towards his hospital bill.

They say when you hold a child’s hand you touch a mother’s heart…thank you as you stand with Lil Wayne.

wayne

‘Why I named my daughter Takisha Matanah’, Bonnie Musambi reveals

There’s no right or wrong way to pick a name for your baby. The most important consideration is to choose the one you love.For that reason, you can choose to name your child Osumbuko, Athola, Mwashetani or Kanyambi, but remember, the name given to a child goes beyond being a mere name because it will be a defining piece of his or her identity for a lifetime.

To a majority of parents that I have talked to, the name they give to their little ones signifies many other things and it is believed that a person becomes what he is called. That is, his or her destiny is determined by the name (this needs more discussion though). To other parents, the name is just that- a name with no particular meaning or destiny tied to it but just to ensure the child is not referred to as ‘weee or wewe’ (wahala!!!)

 

bonnie-and-takisha

Bonnie Musambi is the host of Zinga la Asubuhi show on KBC Radio Taifa. He is not just a presenter but the most celebrated breakfast show host. Exactly 2 months ago, Bonnie Musambi and his wife Betty welcome their 2nd born daughter Takisha Matanah.

I fell in love with the name Takisha…it is to me, so sweet to the mouth and ear so, I was curious to know the reason behind that beautiful name for a beautiful little girl. Bonnie Musambi was not mean, he told me in black and white the genesis of the name Takisha Matanah. Please read on…

Takisha is an English- Arabic name which means ‘Healthy and alive.’

When my Betty got pregnant with the angel she didn’t know it until 2 months later. So when nausea and such began to manifest, she confused it for stomach ulcers and went ahead to purchase some ‘heavy’ tabs over the counter, which she swallowed for a whole week with no improvement putting the life of the fetus at risk. She could have gone for more tabs had I not intervened and politely suggested a pregnancy test. Betty not only loves me but she considered my suggestions. She bought a home pregnancy test kit and as clear as the moon, the two dark lines where visible- we were expectant again!

betty-expectant-with-takisha

Fast forward, the pregnancy progressed well until 8 months when a scan revealed that the baby was only 1.3kg. That for sure is an underweight baby and with only a month to delivery, Betty was scared and frustrated- so was I.

‘Supu ya mifupa na ndizi’ I found myself thinking about this upon receiving the not so good news. From that day on, bone soup and bananas were the order of the day in my house until the last scan was done days before delivery from which to our surprise and relief, the baby weighed 2.7kgs. Yes! She doubled her weight in only one month and we were now ready and happy to ‘download the new app’ to our family.

Finally on 16th July 2016 at 1.05pm baby Takisha was born through caesarean section at The Nairobi hospital thanks to God who worked through Dr. Kigen Bartilol and believe it or not she weighed 3.3kgs!

betty-and-takisha-in-hosy

When she was born, I and her elder sister Lovelyn had a common cold and cough – that’s normal in the cold month of July. Nevertheless, the newborn was not infected at all never mind a newborn’s low immunity.

Looking at the health risks that the baby endured both in the womb and at birth, it was only appropriate for me to prophesy health and life for her hence the name Takisha.

Oh and this will surprise you more! Betty and I had hoped for a son to ‘balance the equation’ since we already have a daughter but God saw it fit to give us another daughter. Therefore, Takisha was also named Matanah a Hebrew name meaning ‘God’s gift’ for God gave us what we needed and not what we wanted.

lil-takisha

My advice: choose prophetic names for our children for names serve a huge purpose in their lives.

Thank you Bonnie Musambi aka Kijana Mtall for sharing Takisha’s story. Just like her name, may she grow healthy and live long to reach her destiny.

Do you have a story you would love to share? write to me on lourdeswalusala@yahoo.com or inbox me on facebook at Lourdes Akello Walusala.

Remember to click, read and follow lourdesdiary.wordpress.com for inspiring maternal and children health stories.

Enjoy your weekend!

Unneeded or expired medicine in your home is simply poison within reach!

Lourdes Diary

I am a keeper. In fact, I can keep an empty perfume bottle for 5 years – I have a Beyonce Pulse perfume bottle that is older than Jabali (wahala!!!) not for anything but just for optical nutrition…I look at the beautiful bottle and smile!

And even after having Jabali, I extended the keeping madness even in medicines- what a terrible mess! On Sunday, I took Jabali to Nairobi Hospital and was diagnosed with an ear and throat infection. He was given 1001 medicines, which I had nowhere to store them and that is when, like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after taking the forbidden fruit, my eyes opened shwaaaaaa! and I thought to myself, ‘what if Jabali, with his mighty strength, managed to open just one bottle of Argumentine, cetamol or even Zyrtec and sip it generously?’ The picture that flashed my mind of what can…

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Unneeded or expired medicine in your home is simply poison within reach!

I am a keeper. In fact, I can keep an empty perfume bottle for 5 years – I have a Beyonce Pulse perfume bottle that is older than Jabali (wahala!!!) not for anything but just for optical nutrition…I look at the beautiful bottle and smile!

Beyonce Pulse

And even after having Jabali, I extended the keeping madness even in medicines- what a terrible mess! On Sunday, I took Jabali to Nairobi Hospital and was diagnosed with an ear and throat infection. He was given 1001 medicines, which I had nowhere to store them and that is when, like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after taking the forbidden fruit, my eyes opened shwaaaaaa! and I thought to myself, ‘what if Jabali, with his mighty strength, managed to open just one bottle of Argumentine, cetamol or even Zyrtec and sip it generously?’ The picture that flashed my mind of what can happen made me sweat and shudder!

New Image

Keeping medicines after they are no longer needed creates an unnecessary health risk in the home, especially if there are children present. It goes without saying that very young children explore their world with their mouths. And being young, they do not know which items are safe to eat and that means one thing: they are vulnerable to being poisoned. It only takes a few seconds for a child to swallow a dangerous amount of poisonous product and the rest becomes a painful history.

 

POISON 1

 

Part of the poison in my house

 

 

Accidental exposure to medicine in the home is a major source of unintentional poisonings as it provides an opportunity for a child or pet to accidentally take the medicine. Medicines can result in fatality if they are accidentally taken by children. Some of the possible harmful effects include breathing difficulties or heart problems, which can lead to death.

Child proofing your home in a nutshell:

  • Never leave vitamin bottles or other medications on kitchen tables, countertops, bedside tables, or dresser tops. Small children may decide to try to copy adults and help themselves.
  • Never tell a child that medicine tastes like sweets…this will motivate them to try and eat the sweets even when you are not around.
  • Store all medications — prescription and nonprescription — out of sight and out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet. Even items that seem harmless, such as mouthwash, can be extremely dangerous if ingested in large quantities by children. Just because cabinets are high doesn’t mean kids can’t get their hands on what’s in them — they’ll climb up to get to items in the medicine cabinet
  • Close your medicine caps tightly after every use. Choose child-resistant caps for medicine bottles, if you’re able to.
  • Clean out your medicine cabinet by getting rid of unused or expired medicine. Safely dispose of unneeded medicine in the household trash or flush the medicines down the sink or toilet to remove this risk from your home. Before throwing out your empty medicine packaging, remember to scratch out all personal information on the prescription label to make it unreadable.

For records, I packed all the ‘poison’ in my house and disposed of them. I encourage you to do the same.

Have a safe weekend and a safer home!!!!!

 

PACKED POISON

 

my packed poison ready for disposal

 

 

Early bird: The highs and lows of parenting a premature baby

It is every mother’s prayer and dream to give birth to a fully baked baby- at least 37 weeks because, generally, the earlier a baby is born, the higher the risk of complications. Although the miracle of birth might be overshadowed by concern about your preemie’s health, the ups and downs, triumphs and setbacks are always present.

 

PRETTY AZ

Pretty Azalea

Christine Wachira gave birth to her daughter Azalea at 34 weeks. I still remember her message popping up on the chat ‘believe it or not, I gave birth to baby Azalea Grace Njeri last night’ Wahala!! I checked my calendar to ensure it was not April fools day. And since by then I lived a stone throw away from the hospital where she was admitted, I dragged my 70 something kg pregnant self to Uhai Neema and behold the preemie princess was indeed born. Christine Wachira has shared her experience parenting her preemie princess…please enjoy the read.

 

 

Christine and AZ

Christine and her daughter Azalea

 

When I first found out I was pregnant I didn’t know what to feel!

 
I was both elated and out of mind excited! But was also a little nervous.
I mean yes getting pregnant was something I’d always dreamt about and the thought of a little girl that was a mini me was just a dream! I didn’t waste a minute informing my mother and siblings and they were all excited too.

 
I broke the news to her father who also joined us in celebrating.
After 4 months as we headed for our routine prenatal clinics a nurse advised me to get a scan because I’d shown interest in knowing the baby’s gender. Excited, we went to the radiologist’s office and lying there happy and waiting for the news he had a concerned look on his face.

 
“Uum everything is fine with the baby, healthy weight…viable heartbeat…as far as I can tell SHE is a healthy baby!” OMG I was going to have a daughter, a true little version of her Mama. Amidst all the excitement couldn’t help but notice there was more to it. He went ahead to tell me, that he could clearly see that my cervix was dilating quite early. My cervix dilating 5months early couldn’t be good.

 
I was sent back to my gynaecologist to further explain this to me. Due to the cervix dilation, it meant that I couldn’t exert more pressure on myself as it would make the baby move further down and this would mean a premature birth. I was given total bed rest for the remaining months, no leaving the house or doing house chores. No physical exertion of any kind. This was the hardest part or so I thought at that moment. All that time on my own meant more time for worrying about everything that could go wrong with my baby, what if I did something wrong and I lost her?
Dr Ouko at Uhai Neema Hospital was one of my biggest supports during the remaining months.

 
During those months in between cramps and leaking amniotic fluid it became an even more challenging pregnancy as taking stairs was banned at all costs. The more recent scan showed that the fluid had reduced immensely because every time I went for a short call I would feel lots of it leak afterwards.
I would speak to my little girl and ask her to hang on, at 32 weeks were almost there.

 
At 34weeks on a Thursday morning, I went for my routine scan and was told so far so good. Lots of rest was doing us good. I left for home and decided to nap on the couch, but little nagging cramps that were so distant kept me awake. By evening they were more intense, and as I was home at Mums’ she quickly advised a hospital check up at 11pm. The drive there seemed really long and at the hospital reception I couldn’t wait any longer and walked myself to the maternity wards to find my gynaecologist as that was his night shift.

 
It was clear for everyone except me that I was going into labour. As I was getting a V.E done I was informed to my shock and horror that I was 8cm dilated and my water had broke. In half an hour I was in serious labour and before I could blink thrice my baby Azalea Grace Njeri was born at 2am 11th April, at 34weeks weighing 2kgs.

 

AZ same outfit months apart

Azalea: Same outfit, months apart

Usually, Mums spend on average 2nights maximum in the hospital and leave with their babies.With a premature baby, breathing difficulties are common in the beginning even though I had prior received 2 steroid injections to boost the maturity of her lungs as a premature birth was expected 

 

Nights in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) proved the most difficult week of my life as it was characterised byswollen feet, sleepless nights as the baby would wake up randomly and want a feed, unable to breastfeed we had to express and cup feed. I remember several of us mothers in the nursery at 2am, our babies chest to chest in kangaroo therapy, praying for our extremely delicate angels, praying to get out of there healthy and alive.

You would change and feed your baby and slowly creep back to bed to catch even 10minutes of sleep and just when you shut your eyes, someone’s baby crying would wake you up or someone would wake you up to tell you yours was awake. It would be accurate to say we slept and lived up and down the corridors with huge feet that didn’t fit in slippers any more Lol sounds funny now.

 
On the fourth night, I was given my baby for the first time to sleep with in the ward ready to be discharged the next day. I remember not sleeping and just sitting up staring at her afraid to squash her in my sleep!

 
In preparation to leave, after I’d packed ready to leave for home, the paediatrician realised Azalea was jaundiced and she had to be admitted back for photo therapy for 2days! I was crushed, crying and refusing to let go because it felt like they were stealing her AGAIN. A certain Lady who was being discharged stood with me at the glass window, where I was weeping, watching my child in just a diaper and blindfold alone under the blue photo therapy light, she hugged me as I cried and spoke encouraging words to me. “The God that gave you this baby, will hold your hand through it all. You and your baby will leave here victorious”
True to that after 2 days we were discharged.

CHRISTINE AND AZ2
The stay at home was easier because I had people around me who were always there to help me. Today my princess is a happy healthy baby and I’m forever grateful to God for this blessing.

Has your baby arrived earlier than expected? Hang in there he or she will make it out of hospital healthy and stronger.

Thanks very much Christine Wachira for sharing. May Azalea grow heathier and continue being a source of joy to you and all the people around her.

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