SHARE AFRICA 2019 SPRING NEWSLETTER
SHARE AFRICA ALUMNI RETURN TO MBITA KENYA
In December, SHARE sponsored the first of what is hoped to be a reoccurring event. A number of SHARE alumni and their guardians returned to discuss their experiences with current SHARE sponsored children and their guardians. The six hour event was a heartfelt and inspiring story of how many of our sponsored orphans have grown into adulthood and have made their way into successful jobs and professions. They serve as an inspiration to our current orphans, guardians, staff and to those of us who donate time and money to SHARE.
The event was attended by 400 people. Among those attending were SHARE’s senior social workers Lucy and Cyprina and our young dynamic social workers Calvince and Leah, program administrators Alphonse and Wycliffe, Kenya Board Members and our driver Ken. In addition, community elders and clergy participated along with representatives from the Ministries of Health and Education.
Most touching were the talks from our SHARE graduates who spoke to children about what SHARE did for them.Many of these graduates went on to college and trade schools, giving them opportunities they may not have been able to imagine as young orphans. One of our social workers, Leah, was a SHARE orphan, who graduated from college and has returned to help others. Former guardians spoke to the current guardians concerning issues they had faced. They served as an excellent resource for these adults, who in many cases are struggling themselves.
HELPING BABIES SURVIVE
This is the fifth year of the “Helping Babies Survive” program. Originally developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and brought to Kenya by the SHARE medical director Dr. Jeffrey Karasik. Its purpose is to reduce the infant mortality rate. While the infant mortality rate in the US is less than one per thousand, in Kenya it is thirtysix per thousand.Unlike the United States, where there are multiple people attending at a birth to ensure that both the mother and child are cared for, in Kenya there is generally a single person present for the delivery.Typically, the person in attendance immediately turns his/her attention to the mother after the delivery, often missing the critical “golden minute” after the birth when the infant may be in distress and is most easily revived.
Thus, things as simple as suctioning the baby’s airway after birth, warming the child or providing other stimulation is missed. By the time the caregiver turns his/her attention to the infant, it is often too late.
The program brings mannequins that are filled with water and have umbilical cords and other simple and readily available equipment so that those being trained can get the feel of suctioning, and performing other simple yet lifesaving skills. The equipment is donated to medical facilities for use in practicing these skills
A senior nurse from the ministry of health along with “training champions” who are nurses and midwives and feel invested in the program are taught to develop courses. They then go out into almost 100 small hospitals and dispensaries teaching other nurses and midwives to help babies survive during the first critical 24 hours, by addressing basic health issues.
BRINGING FUTURE DOCTORS TO KENYA
Jonathan Rizner grew up in Nyack, New York and is will be starting Tulane Medical School. He is the first future doctor brought by our medical director, Dr. Jeffrey Karasik to Kenya to see what SHARE does to provide medical assistance to the inhabitants. It is hoped that in the coming years other future doctors will join our programs and see the important work that is being done. We already have commitments for the next couple of years. Ultimately, it is hoped they will see the importance of this work and volunteer to return when they have their medical licenses and supplement the services SHARE performs.
Jonathan (right), along with Dr. Jeffrey Karasik (center) and a member of the staff of the Angiya Dispensary(left). SHARE built this dispensary and donated it to the community 18 years ago.Jonathan and Jeffrey also visited other dispensaries and hospitals working alongside physician’s assistants and learning about the needs of the facilities and the staff.