Building SHOFCO’s Community Health Program

Building SHOFCO’s Community Health Program
November 15, 2009 Media Team


This week we were thrilled to welcome Australian nurse Vanessa Wynn-Jones, who arrived at the school to establish health records and lead HIV/AIDS workshops. Vanessa joined us after spending a week in eastern Kenya, where she worked in rural clinic treating the Massai people.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Vanessa led HIV/AIDS workshops for the Kibera community, first for men and then for women. Vanessa’s first forty minute workshop turned into a three hour discussion on the risks and effects associated with HIV/AIDS. Men from the community would not stop asking questions, eager to have access to her medical expertise. The women also showered Vanessa with questions, not only about HIV, but about other struggles they face in Kibera, such as depression and domestic violence. More than just informational talks, her workshops gave Kibera residents a safe space where they could share their health concerns with one another.

Friday marked the first day of health exams for the KSFG’s students. Vanessa met individually with the girls and their parents to establish medical records for and examine each student. She counseled parents on nutrition and sanitation, offered HIV tests, and referred students in need to medical specialists. These records are an important step in our continued efforts to care for our girls’ health needs, as well as their education.

Though only here for a week, Vanessa plans to return and will be heavily involved in the development of the school’s clinic, which is currently in the early planning stages. We have had such a great time with Vanessa this week, and we cannot overstate our appreciation for her dedication and expertise. Her work is truly a testament to the impact an individual can have on a community, even in six short days.


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