Health Initiatives Mission: Women’s Health A Pokot woman has to undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in order to be accepted in the community. This process has lead to many deaths due to excessive bleeding and infections. Additionally, most children (especially the firstborns) die during delivery due to prolonged labor. After delivery, most young women end up with tears in their bladder, rectum or both.
Can you imagine urine leaking uncontrollably whether you are at home or in public? Well, this is not something that some women in Africa have to imagine. It is something they experience on a daily basis. This is because they have undergone female genital mutilation and have experience medical complications during child birth. Sadly some have complications of both uncontrolled urine and feces (due to tear in rectum and bladder during childbirth). These young girls spend the rest of their lives suffering in silence because they are unable to mingle with the public. The smell of urine and feces makes them targets of ridicule. They are often abandoned by their husbands and families. These women are condemned to a life of poverty, isolation, depression and hopelessness.
We strongly believe that FGM is a violation of the basic human rights for girls and women, period! With our partners, we are committed to address both the medical complications associated with FGM and to educate the Pokot community (especially the traditional birth attendants) so that this barbaric practice becomes a thing of the past. Restoration of health, dignity and respect for the Pokot women and girls is a worthwhile cause that Health Initiatives Mission is committed to pursuing.
Community education and prevention Health Initiatives Mission partners with local community leaders to educate the Pokot community about the dangers of FGM. We mainly target the traditional birth attendants and circumcisers whose main source of income, pride and status is derived from performing FGM and delivering circumcised women. We also work with young girls and educate them on alternate ways of being initiated to womanhood.
Medical complications Health Initiatives Mission hopes to raise funds for a Fistula Repair Clinic and Birthing Center. Currently women have to be transported over 250 miles (or about 400 kilometers) if they need a fistula repair. You can imagine the shame one feels when they see people holding their noses inside a public bus so that they don’t have to smell urine or feces emanating from you? We imagine it is going to take while to secure a full funding for a Fistula Clinic. In the meantime, Health Initiatives Mission hopes to lead a team of medical professional and volunteers to do education and fistula repair short-term trips to Pokot in Kenya. We would also strive to find a corporate sponsor for Sanitary Pads for victims of FGM.