It is important for people to get the fights about healthcare from the experts, and this applies heavily to mothers with newborns and toddlers. Towards this, Equity Afia, through its Lang’ata clinic is offering training to caregivers like new parents, house managers, guardians and teachers.
We spoke to the doctor spearheading this program and this is what he had to say.
What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Doctor Benson Chuma. I’m a medical doctor working with Equity Afia in Biashara Street Lang’ata, and in Ongata Rongai.
What is EQA Lang’ata and how does it work?
Equity Afia Lang’ata is one of the 41 medical centers that Equity Afia has. Equity Afia is a chain of outpatient medical centers across the country offering high quality affordable medical care.
What informed the introduction of the EQA training in Lang’ata?
When we started the Antenatal, Postnatal clinics, and clinics for newborns, a lot of the questions being asked were a mix of medical and medical questions. The area we are in has a lot of young first-time mothers, so we felt there is a need to offer education over and above medical services. This is to empower them to become more knowledgeable mothers.
What are some of the most outrageous old wives’ tales that you have heard in the course of your work?
A lot of things ranging from the child to the mother and I have heard quite a number. One is that if a child is crying and you pick them up immediately then you are spoiling the child. There is also something like you should not child proof your home because children should be brought up without these safety measures. The other thing was that expectant and breastfeeding mothers take a lot of concoctions trying to enhance lactation.
What are some of the childcare topics that the training covers?
We break them in 2. One is the newborn where we train about the growth of the baby, the developmental milestones, and normal occurrences like colic, management of temper tantrums and safe environments in which to bring up a baby. Secondly, we train about unforeseen emergencies like a choking baby or if the baby is not breathing for example. We do this by training basic first aid. We also train on how to keep the house and environment as safe as possible for bringing up a child.
I have seen teachers in the list of training beneficiaries. The training is not only for newborn and toddler caregivers?
Our primary target is new mothers and childcare givers (house helps). But over time when we continued with the training, we found that a lot of fathers came in. We also found a lot of teachers because some run daycare centers, and they want to understand first aid and baby safety. So, it is mixed training.
Are the trainer’s volunteers or Equity Afia staff?
All the trainers are Equity Afia doctors and nursing officers.
How is community acceptance of the service?
We started just before Covid and the uptake was very impressive. We got overbooked and we had to have different days. Of course, when Covid came we could not train but now that some restrictions have been lifted, we have our first training happening this month and that is already fully booked. There is a lot of demand and hunger for this knowledge out there.
Is the training only offered to Equity Account holders and those associated with them?
That is a misconception when people see the name Equity Afia. Even Equity Afia is not only open to account holders. Our facilities are open to everyone whether they work with Equity or somewhere else. We accept cash and insurance cards. For those who have insurance cards, we accept all insurance policies. We are open to all Kenyans.
Similarly, our training is free and open to everybody as long as we are able to book you in advance.
Is this something that will spread out to other Equity Afia clinics?
Yes. We are in the process of introducing it in Rongai, Buru-Buru and Kakamega. In a few weeks’ time all the other facilities are going to be offering the service.