August 14 2003
SOS Children's Villages Kenya to open social and medical centre in Nairobi
14/08/2003 - With one of the highest rates of population growth in the world, 50% of the population living on less than a dollar a day, and 700 people dying daily from HIV/AIDS, Kenya needs all the help it can get. Later this month, SOS Children's Villages will open a community, social and medical centre that will provide healthcare and education to impoverished youngsters.
Kenya ranks low on UNDP index
Housed in the former SOS youth facilities and guest apartments opposite the SOS Children's Village Nairobi, the new SOS Community, Social and Medical Centre, the first in Kenya, will be open to the community and will provide basic medical services, antenatal and postnatal care, immunization facilities, family planning services and HIV/AIDS testing and counselling.
Three times a week a feeding programme at the social centre will target impoverished children and young people, especially those living on the streets. Activities in the centre will be geared towards improving lives: counselling sessions, skills training and even an entrepreneurship desk, which can assist in setting up small businesses. The social centre will also include a computer centre, games area, library, kitchen, dining room for about 30, laundry, toilet facilities, showers and a barber.
Currently Fausta Mwili, a former SOS child from Nairobi, now employed as the project's social worker, and Peter Wambugu an SOS youth leader at the Nairobi village, are undertaking baseline surveys in slums that neighbour the village, to identify the initial beneficiaries of the project. The village has been running an outreach programme in Korogocho and the City Carton/Kiambiyu slums, where over 30 children from grandparent and child headed families are aided. This group, together with about 50 young people, will be the first to use the services of the centre.
After the baseline surveys are complete, all the children and youth will be issued with a card, which will allow them regular entrance to the social centre. Peter Wambugu hopes that people living with, or affected by AIDS, will make the centre a meeting point.
Pamela Idzala, a registered community health nurse with 13 years of hospital experience, is the medical centre nurse/manager. She plans to have regular health talks at the centre embracing HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as diabetes, hypertension, stress management and drugs. She will begin her talks with the SOS youth, empowering them to go out and spread the message to others. "I would like to see the centre grow", she says, "and have more specialities, so that it will become the role model for all SOS villages in Kenya."
Kenya ranks low on UNDP index
The decision to open a social and medical centre in Nairobi was based upon the dire need in Kenya for such facilities. Kenya has one of the highest population growth rates worldwide, combined with fifty percent of the population living below the poverty line and an HIV/AIDS pandemic that is decimating a whole generation. According to a recent UNDP Human Development Index, which assesses standard of living, life expectancy and knowledge, Kenya ranks 153 out of 175 countries polled worldwide. HIV/AIDS and a lack of investment in education and healthcare are major contributory factors.
The medical centre, which is now registered with the Ministry of Health, is currently being equipped and will open in August, with the social centre following soon after.