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MmeLindor is in Kenya blogging about Reproductive Rights

(151 Posts)
LynnCSchreiber Fri 22-Jun-12 08:40:29

I am in Kenya this week blogging about reproductive rights.

200m women worldwide want to use contraception but have no access to it.

Melinda Gates has launched a campaign to change this. A group of bloggers from around the world are visiting various projects in Kenya to report on the reality of life without contraception.

Access to contraception means that women can decide when, how many and in with which age gap they have their children.

This has far reaching effects on the lives and the lives of their families.

more here

250 000 maternal deaths worldwide, high infant mortality, unwanted babies, unsafe abortion.

I have been here for several days and have written a couple of blog posts about the projects we have visited. I've been having wifi issues so no pics yet, but I have tweeted some pics - you can follow me @lynncschreiber to see them.

I've met an amazing woman who is a Mother Mentor in a HIV/AIDS support project. She meets newly diagnosed mothers and helps them come to terms with their illness and learn how to increase the chances that their babies will be HIV negative.

She was so inspiring. She told me that she is living positively and is so happy that her son is a Negative Baby. She now tells other women about family planning and how to access it. The program is run by the CDC - who are doing amazing things for rural communities.

Women walk for hours to health clinics only to find that they are out of contraceptive supplies.

The Gates Foundation is teaming up with the UK government to host a worldwide family planning summit in London this July.

I will also be linking to the blogs of the others on the trip.

silverfrog Tue 26-Jun-12 14:04:50

New

silverfrog Tue 26-Jun-12 14:13:24

Grr phone...

New maternity hospital sounds great, and much need. I had dd1 nearly 8 years ago, and patient lead was not on the agenda then... I think it was more at Nairobi Hospital, but the Aga Khan was very medicalised indeed.

Yes, being held until you pay your bills was not unheard of. We were diplomats, and so had certain privileges, but even so it was tried often (eg pay now, when the BUPA payment comes through we'll refund you - err, yeah right). I was once held in the car park of the Aga Khan as had lost my carpark pass - nothing like being held in hospital post proceedure, but intimidating nonetheless. It is difficult to just walk away from someone insisting you.stay (whether admin in the hospital, or armed guards outside) even. when you know they have no legal.right to detain you.

LynnCSchreiber Tue 26-Jun-12 21:23:33

I am on the plane ready to leave Kenya. I'll be back to bother you from London tomorrow.

silverfrog Tue 26-Jun-12 23:15:45

ah, the nightflight back from Kenya - I remember it well smile

LynnCSchreiber Wed 27-Jun-12 22:13:34

Arrived back home after a very long trip. Am going to bed early but will be back to writin about kenya tomorrow.

LynnCSchreiber Thu 28-Jun-12 15:02:26

Just had a great chat with two researchers who are starting a study into the suitability of providing mooncups to girls in Kisumu district. Will be writing about it later, still researching other bits of the story. Might have found a project that we could support.

She said that studies have found that around 45% of young girls said that their first sexual experiences were not consensual, and that blood on their clothes was seen by some boys/men that they were sexually mature.

Hullygully Thu 28-Jun-12 16:40:13

<salutes MMe>

<copies Hully>

Awesome

Abitwobblynow Thu 28-Jun-12 19:27:42

Just to let you know, that hiding contraception happens here in Blightly, amongst the muslim and immigrant communities.

The HVs get to know the secret signals which say 'don't knock, he's here' or 'you can come in now'.

smile

Abitwobblynow Thu 28-Jun-12 19:29:01

Good luck with the moon cups, very good idea.

LynnCSchreiber Thu 28-Jun-12 20:44:50

That is sad, Abit.

FormerlyTitledUntidy Thu 28-Jun-12 22:46:18

Mme L I have jsut read this whole thread and all your links tonight blush I think you might be my new girl crush smile
What fab work you have been doing, spreading the word.
Keep us up to date on thir brill project, very interesting smile

LynnCSchreiber Thu 28-Jun-12 23:38:42

Thank you, Formerly blush

Will keep this thread going as long as there is interest in the project.

dittany Fri 29-Jun-12 20:17:29

This is great what you did Mme Lindor.

Is there much of a women's movement in Kenya? Things have to change from within to change for women don't they?

"She said that studies have found that around 45% of young girls said that their first sexual experiences were not consensual, and that blood on their clothes was seen by some boys/men that they were sexually mature."

This is horrifying, such a massive mountain to climb.

LynnCSchreiber Fri 29-Jun-12 20:26:11

There is hope that things will change, but it is slow because you are dealing with ingrained traditional ideas.

One Nigerian woman, who was educated in the States and is writing a book about Africa told me that a lot of her friends would only use a condom till the 3rd date, cause the men would not accept it afterwards. And these are educated, privileged women.

Irin Carmon was on the trip and investigated the scandal of women being imprisoned after giving birth if they cannot pay the hospital bills. This has been reported before, but it is still going on.

Prolesworth Sat 30-Jun-12 01:25:16

This is brilliant - good work MmeL! Looking forward to reading all the links and catching up with the campaign so far.

dittany Sat 30-Jun-12 08:35:08

That's the problem isn't it? Education and privilege don't protect women in the face of male hatred and male supremacy. So the men can feel fit to abuse the women as they want - expose them to pregnancy in this case.

The number of rapists in Kenya must be astronomical. They basically seem to be punishing their victims through maternity services too. You can't help but realise that at least some of these men who think it's OK to rape almost half of young girls in Kenya, will be involved in giving pregnant women medical care or running hospitals.

LynnCSchreiber Sat 30-Jun-12 09:45:54

Dittany
We spoke to a senior official from the Kenyan Ministry of Health and I asked about rape, and sexual abuse - whether the perpetrators are brought before the courts.

"We passed the Sexual Offences Act in 2008, but it has not yet been implemented".

Enough said.

FrothyDragon Sat 30-Jun-12 10:06:05

Four years on and they haven't implemented it? shock

It really shows, doesn't it. Women are a sub sex in the eyes of lawmakers. sad

LynnCSchreiber Sat 30-Jun-12 10:25:36

One of the saddest things I heard in Kenya, was a woman talking about babies and children getting sick - "simple" illnesses like D&V are not simple in Africa.

"they shout to us in the evening and by the morning they are not there".

Am writing about a water project today, where women pool their resources to buy water tanks, giving them clean and healthy drinking water.

Beachcomber Sun 01-Jul-12 07:49:28

Marking place and adding my support. Will read info and links properly later.

Good work MmeLindor.

LynnCSchreiber Sun 01-Jul-12 09:21:27

Thanks, Beachcomber.

BIWItheBold Sun 01-Jul-12 09:33:44

Can I join in with the general adulation, Mme? grin
Much of this is just so shock. It's hard to believe.
Very good job being done. And isn't it heartening to see the Gates using their money in this way - c.f. with the Barclays/UK bankers 'cesspit' that is happening here?

LynnCSchreiber Sun 01-Jul-12 09:42:18

That is true, BIWI.

The representative from the Gates Foundation who was with us on the trip is a fantastic woman, very inspiring and knowledgeable about women's rights.

TheLightPassenger Sun 01-Jul-12 10:36:11

well done for highlighting these massively important issues Mme. Will check out the various links shortly.

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