Children growing up in the nomadic communities of the Maasai in Kenya and the Afar in Ethiopia face their own particular challenges.
These communities move regularly with their livestock according to the availability of water, pasture and other resources, and often in remote areas at great distance from essential services such as health care.
Lack of access to maternal and child health care means a high infant mortality rate, high maternal death rates, and poor health and nutrition for the surviving children.
The spread of disease is more likely as people move across the country, and children are vulnerable to diarrhoea, measles, malaria and HIV/AIDS.
With help from substantial funding from AusAID, Anglican Overseas Aid is embarking on a major project over five years to address these challenges, through training local health workers, improving pre- and post-natal care for women and children, improving literacy rates, and developing sustainable income generating activities for women.
Ignorance and lack of open discussion about the virus, along with discrimination and stigma against HIV positive people, is creating tremendous pressure in Nyeri. For this reason HIV positive people do not share their status, not even with
their own family members.
The most recent Nyeri District data puts the HIV infection rate for pregnant women at 18%. This is much higher than the national average of 13.5%. Alarmingly around one in five of these women is under the age of 19.
As well as being at higher risk of infection, Nyeri women are also more responsible than their husbands, fathers and brothers for the care of sick family members.
With Anglican Overseas Aid support, the Good Samaritan Clinic is working to provide quality HIV and AIDS preventative and health support services to the community. Addressing the vulnerability of young people is a priority.