Embracing a better way of handling injuries in communities
Myths and misconceptions on various health issues have been common place in Kenyan communities over the years. Shitochi Community Unit (CU) in Kakamega County is not an exception. With regard to injuries, many community members handled injuries based on their cultural practices. However, the trend has started changing following the training of Community Health Workers (CHWs) through mobile learning (mLearning). One of the beneficiaries of mLearning in Shitochi CU is Mary Shitemi.
Through mLearning, Mary covered the Basic Life Saving Skills topic hence acquiring knowledge on how to properly handle injuries and administering first aid to affected community members. “Community members, myself included, used to have a very horrible belief on how to cure injuries. We used different herbs, ashes, chicken waste, toothpaste and oils to treat injuries.” Mary adds that as a result of such practices, wounds and injuries would get infected and take long to heal. “Little did I know that the things we applied on the wounds were dangerous until I learnt about Basic Life Saving Skills through mLearning” Mary cites an example whereby her neighbour’s child got a severe burn. The child’s grandmother, however, refused to allow him to go to hospital for treatment, instead asking his mother to apply a mixture of his urine and toothpaste on the injury. On receiving this information, Mary rushed to that household. “The boy’s grandmother was very angry at me but I persisted, took initiative and did first aid on him then took him to hospital.” Mary affirms that she made frequent follow ups on the injured boy and personally dressed up the wound as required until the boy got completely healed. Cheerfully she says, “Now, the boy has no complications!”
Mary continues to advise community members on how to handle injuries in the home and request them to alert her whenever the injuries occur so that they can be properly handled, heal faster and allow the community members to go back to their normal routine faster.