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Of TB, Single Mother of 6 and Free But Inaccessible Govt Treatment

Korogocho, Nairobi July 4th 2011 – Had she known, she would have had 3 children, she is now 43 years old, lives in a single poorly ventilated room with her 6 children in Korogocho, even though Tuberculosis (TB) treatment is free in Government hospitals, she has to balance between paying fare to access treatment and buying food for her children as well as paying rent.

But even as community health workers in Korogocho disclose that family planning is an alien practice Jane has a word of caution for first time jobless mothers living in informal settlements


Of TB, Single Mom And Free Inaccessible Treatment 


Although TB treatment is free in Government hospitals, Jane Njoki a resident of Korogocho has to balance between paying

Jane Njoki's photo will be uploaded shortly

fare to access free TB treatment at a government hospital and buying food for her 6 children as well as paying rent for her single roomed house.

43 years old Jane is a single mother, she is on her third month of Tuberculosis treatment, she says Doctors advised her to move to a well ventilated double roomed house but Jane cannot afford that move, she will have to continue living in her single room in Korogocho, she tells Women eNews Kenya.

“I depend on any available work mostly washing clothes for the employed class within Korogocho neighborhood, I get very little money out of this which i use to feed my children and pay rent” Jane says

I have met the terms with the Doctor’s advice to keep windows open and to follow drug prescriptions of 4 tablets every day, but moving to a bigger house will take time since I cannot afford to pay rent for a bigger house” she tells Women eNews Kenya

Within a walking distance from Jane’s residence, there is a community based organization known as Maendeleo Afya Kwa Wote Korogocho which despite having the personnel to treat various illnesses including TB cannot do so because of lack of drugs and other important medical facilities.

Scholastica Makau, a volunteer community health nurse at Maendeleo Afya Kwa Wote Korogocho

“In a single day, we get about five suspected cases of TB which we refer to Korogocho Health Center for screening because

we do not have facilities here” says Scholastica Makau, a volunteer community health nurse at Maendeleo Afya Kwa Wote Korogocho

“Out of the 5 suspected cases, we get 2 to 3 confirmed Tuberculosis” Scholastica says “it is these confirmed TB that we deal with, we give advise on how to manage the disease but it would be healthier if the Government can supply us with drugs and BCG immunization injections so as to effectively cater for these confirmed cases” she says

“Many mothers here in Korogocho sidestep the TB immunization injection phase because they have no bus fare to take their children to hospitals which are far away, the Government should bring health services closer to the people, we want the BCG immunization at Maendeleo Afya Kwa Wote Korogocho which is within a walking distance for most” says Scholastica

Rose Omol, a community health worker at Maendeleo Afya Kwa Wote Korogocho, says lack of family planning is complicating health situation in the area, women are having many children, a situation that has compromised not only the health of the mother but that of the child.

“We are advocating for family planning among our people, we want Korogocho women to have control over their families” says Rose

“Yes. Children are good, but we do not want a situation where children become a burden to us, a small manageable family will bring joy to our lives” she tells participants during a TB awareness event

“Family planning is an alien practice in Korogocho”, says Rose, “You will find a family sharing a poorly ventilated room, a situation that has resulted to widespread of Tuberculosis, the issue is even serious where the mother is pregnant” she says.

Korogocho Men are the biggest loser; some are under Tuberculosis treatment but cannot stop indulging in drugs.

“We have them here, they are under medication, obediently taking TB prescription but they cannot stop smoking, you will find them drinking illegal brew in overcrowded dens” says Rose

Jane has a word of caution for first time unemployed mothers living in informal settlements, have a number of children you can manage healthy wise and economically, she says had she known, she would have had 3 children.

Jane has no plans for another child, although she was isolated when she was sick, Jane says her neighbors and children have been supportive after she enrolled for TB treatment three months ago, she has also joined a support group of Korogocho mothers under TB treatment where they share information about the disease, she believes she will eventually come out in good health from her current TB treatment.

We asked Jane what she has learned about TB and what would be her advise to the society and she had this to say: “Seek treatment when that cough exceeds three days, it could be Tuberculosis, she says TB ina Tiba”

Contributed by Ngigi Kamau Women eNews Kenya


Maendeleo Afya Kwa Wote Korogocho (MAKWK) is a community based health organization that provides services to the people of Korogocho in Nairobi, Kenya.

In 2000 World Vision helped to establish the clinic which is located in the second largest slum in Nairobi.

Since its registration in 2004, MAKWK has developed a number of community outreach programs including Reproductive Health, Orphaned and Vulnerable Child Care, Environmental Health, and Sanitation.


2 Responses

  1. The Govt should seriously come to the rescue of Korogocho women, families here survives on less than a dollar a day, most of them live in single iron sheet houses and the raising cost of living is making life unbearable for single mothers. some of these mothers have between 5 and 7 children.

  2. Let the government also recognise the effort made by local organization in health sector like maendeleo afya kwa wote korogocho health facility. Let them boost their activities since it is the role government to implement such services but are being helped by the organization.
    let other Organization who have similar projects and same objectives like for these MAKWK support them to over come the challenges they are encountering in the community.

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