Birth advice by text message: Phone medicine saving lives in Kenya

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A young woman steals her way down darkened passages in Korogocho — one of Kenya’s largest slums. Crime, prostitution and drug use are rampant in the locality where a quarter of a million people reside and the young woman’s eyes dart around erratically on the lookout for danger.

It should be one of the happiest days of her life — she is pregnant and has just gone into labor. She is also one of the fortunate few that can afford to go to hospital. Some women face a homebirth where, instead of medical equipment, they must make do with cotton wool and razorblades. But the journey to hospital leaves her vulnerable to opportunistic assault.

For Aggrey Otieno, a human rights activist, this scenario is exactly what he is trying to prevent. A facilitator of social change, he has dedicated his life to improving the living conditions — especially for women and children — in the Kenyan slum where he spent his childhood.

“Korogocho has been in the news for all the bad things … HIV/AIDS is very rampant. People who do drugs are here. People who do prostitution are here,” says Otieno. “It is our responsibility who stay in the slum, to bring the change that we want.”

In his mission to help the area where he grew up, Otieno established Pambazuka Mashinani, — meaning “grassroots awakening” in Swahili — with an ethos of empowering “urban poor in Nairobi slums.”

Source: CNN (link opens in a new window)

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