Empowering Women Riders for effective Community healthcare Provision-Patient Follow up Edith K. Chemorion-22nd April, 2015.
Felician chebet,Catherine Chena,Stellah Kemboi,Priscillah Keter,Rose Tirop and Rose Obutu.
Motor bike riding in communities around Eldoret in Uasin Gishu County is largely regarded as men’s domain since most of the public services providers involved in bodaboda business are men. Bodaboda business is business for public transport service of picking people from one point to another at a fee. Communities around Uasin Gishu County are patriarchal and motorbike riding is seen as a men only undertaking. Any woman seen cycling or riding is inimitable.
Retention & Psychosocial support Department where I work as deputy manager has over 80 staff, three quarters of whom are women. The female staffs are involved in follow up of clinic defaulters. Defaulters are patients enrolled into care in AMPATH that have missed their clinic appointments. Follow up of these clients has in the past been through use of public transport means-PSV vehicles, motorbikes and at time staff follow- up clients by foot. The use of android phones has also proven instrumental in communicating with clients with an aim of counseling them, supporting and reminding them to come back for their clinic appointments.
After entering into an MOU with Riders for Health, our department got a donation of 20 motorbikes to be used by retention workers for patient follow up. We had the task of identifying major sites for piloting follow up using motorbikes for the first time. We selected twenty staff, from 20 AMPATH sites from across AMPATH covering - Uasin Gishu, Nandi North and Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Busia, Butula, Kisumu west for the Riders training. I was particularly interested to see that women retention workers were identified for this training. Five women retention workers were on our list for participants of the first training that started on 13th -20th April, 2015. The feminine touch on the training was amazing. Some female Retention workers were so passionate, eager and willing to train so as to change the patriarchal mindset of the colleagues at work and communities they outreached during follow up of defaulters. Ensuring mobility to women retention workers in the hard to reach areas within AMPATH catchment area is great boost to defaulter tracking. We have in the past had success stories of women Retention workers in outreaching defaulters, and re-linking difficult cases back into clinic care. This training will empower the women who will reach many more defaulters and in the process, the workers will understand reasons for defaulting, hence give needed support to clients in their communities, and motivate them to come back for care.
At the end of the one week training at the Moi Teaching and Referral grounds, all the 5 women Retention workers were skilled, competent and successful in the assessment that was done. The women folk now form part of the first ever formidable team of 10 Retention workers licensed to use motorbikes in defaulter tracking in AMPATH. The team is happy that their work will be more effective and representative. This would not have happened without the generous contribution and support of Riders for health.