My name is Lillian Anyango, and I live near Lwala, Kenya. About one year ago, I gave birth to two healthy babies. The boy Geoffrey was named after his ancestor, and the girl is called Valery. Taking care of twins is not easy; they behave like they have one brain. When one is awake, the other is also awake. When one is crying, the other is also crying. The boy is more aggressive and stronger than the girl, but both are jealous and compete for my attention. I am proud to be their mother.
In my community, many women give birth in their huts without anyone with skills to help. Early last year, some people working with the Lwala Community Alliance started visiting all the pregnant women they could find. They are called the Community Health Workers. One of these workers named Sheila came to me when I was 6 months pregnant. Because I was carrying twins, my pregnancy was a difficult one, and I could not sleep well because of stomach discomfort and back pains. Sheila would come visit me 3 times a week to see how I was fairing on. Over time when the problems increased, she would check on me twice a day.
Sheila encouraged me to go to the Lwala Community Hospital for check-ups. One day when the labor pains started, I immediately went to the hospital because Sheila had taught me that the complications I had been having could get worse if I attempted to deliver at home. Sheila and the community health nurse came to check on me when they heard that I had come to deliver my babies. I had difficulty during my labor, and my blood pressure became very high. Sheila and the nurse called it eclampsia and rushed with me in the ambulance because I needed to go for a caesarian. I then was able to safely deliver my twins. I feel great to have these two babies because it is not easy to give birth to twins. Since they were born, I haven’t seen them get seriously ill except for the normal diarrhea that kids get when they are getting to a different development stage like crawling, sitting, and standing. I still take them in for checkups and shots at the Lwala Community Hospital.
The Community Health Workers have been very friendly, loving and caring to me and are committed to their work. Even after I had given birth, they kept on visiting to check on me and my babies. Sheila also calls me on my phone most of the time to find out how I am doing. If the Community Health Workers hadn’t given me good information about how to deliver safely, I am not sure that the outcome would have been the same. The Lwala Community Alliance has made a difference in my life and are doing good work with so many pregnant women and sick people in the community.
You can help us sustain our existing programs and roll out further initiatives by making a donation now.