Providing health services through farmer field days
Sharon Cherutich Mutai is a produce vendor at a small but bustling market along the highway connecting Kenya and Uganda through the Great Rift Valley town of Eldoret. Normally Sharon, who is in her 30s, is busy selling potatoes and vegetables to travelers. But on this day she has taken time off to attend is a farmers’ field day at Mumberes Farmers' Cooperative Society grounds.
“I decided to come when I heard that there would be free health services,” says Sharon, accompanied by her friend with a small baby.
Sharon and her friend were among 70 people who received various health services during the integrated field day. Fifteen health workers from local health facilities transformed the offices of the Mumberes Farmers' Cooperative Society into a temporary clinic.
“I am particularly happy with the chance for us to get medical check-ups,” says Sharon, soon after emerging from the Manager’s Office, which was set up to serve as the reproductive health clinic.
She and several other women were screened for cancer. “I was scared of cervical cancer but did not have the courage to go for a screening,” she says. “Today I got screened and was very happy to learn that I am not infected. “
Sharon says many people know they are at risk of cancer but they think screening is expensive. “They think such services are available in big hospitals and not dispensaries,” she says. “Today I was screened and learned that cancer screening is offered at local health facilities.”
“We learned a lot about cervical cancer and I want to tell other women like me that it is important to get screened because cancer is common. Screening for cervical cancer is a simple, painless test that takes less than five minutes.”
After counseling by health care workers at the field day, Sharon and three other women decided to use a modern family planning method for the very first time in their lives. Two others changed methods.
She says: “The health workers told us about the different methods so that we can choose the method that suits each one of us. Personally, I think the coil is good for me. It was my first time to see the coil. I had previously heard about it the coil but did not know what it looked like. I thought it was a big think but today I was surprised to learn that it small and very convenient.”
Other services offered included HIV counseling and testing. A total of 23 people were tested for HIV and linked to appropriate services. Others were treated for common illnesses such as malaria, pneumonia, eye and urinary tract infection.