By: Esther Kibe MA,
“They were very kind and receptive to all of us. I appreciate the care they offered my baby and me; they treated us with dignity. I am now confident in my journey of motherhood, and I look forward to delivering a healthy baby in five months.” (Ms. Helen Kasandi, a resident of Kawangware urban informal settlements)
The issue of abortions resulting from crisis pregnancies in Nairobi’s informal settlements (slums) among young girls, women, and families remains a major concern even as all efforts are made to reverse this trend. The Mary and Joseph Life Center supports young women and girls by providing care and support during the prenatal period. So far, over 900 women have received free ultrasound services at the Mary and Joseph Life Center (MJLC). The ultrasound services offered by our qualified personnel have been instrumental in the women’s lives, their unborn children, and their families. These expectant women have the opportunity to view their wombs with amazing 3D/4D detailed images of what’s occurring within their bodies. As such, they can make enlightened decisions for their own well-being and the life of their unborn baby/ies.
The provision of free ultrasound services is a vital service of the MJLC’s crisis pregnancy resource center. Sr. Sarah Ngigi KRCHN, MJLC’s Nurse and Counseling Officer, highlighted the ultrasound’s unique functions as she underscored the specific value to pregnant women. She pointed out that ultrasound is a highly recommended machine for prenatal care as it gives a woman a sneak peek of the baby growing inside her womb and also has other specific uses that are related to the pregnancy’s elaborate details. She stated that:
“the machine helps in determining the baby/ies due dates; revealing the presence of twins or other multiples; helps in ruling out ectopic pregnancies; detecting potential problems such as congenital disabilities, placental issues, breech positioning, and others; learning the gender of their babies and also estimating the length of the baby just before delivery. It is paramount that each woman gets the services of an ultrasound through her pregnancy journey.”
Ms. Rose Anyango, MJLC’s Sonographer underpinning the value of the women accessing ultrasound services, noted, “Women should be encouraged to visit health facilities for ultrasound services to check on their health and that of their baby. Consequently, the MJLC is providing these services to the most needy and vulnerable in the urban informal settlements.” Acknowledging the delight of these women in receiving these services, she noted that “the satisfaction and joy I see in these women’s faces is valueless after confirming that their baby/ies safety, gender and wellbeing is safeguarded.” She also noted that the center continues to provide these essential services to the women and young girls, and for those who may be experiencing any complications, they refer them to the relevant healthcare facilities.
Ms. Mary Wanjiru, a young mother from Kabiria urban informal settlements, stated that,
“I could not see a sonographer due to financial constraints when I learned about the services offered at the Mary and Joseph Life Center. It was a great relief as I could access the services for free. It was a wonderful experience as I was able to see everything, even my baby, moving around in the womb. It was a worthwhile experience for me. I thank the team working at the center for their services, and I advise women to keep their pregnancies, because human life is invaluable and should be protected.”
Ms. Risper Anyango, in expressing her gratitude to the MJLC team, also observed that,
“When I found out I was pregnant, I was very concerned about the gender of the baby. I was relieved to see how my baby was doing during the scan and learn the baby’s gender. I’m expecting a baby boy. The ultrasound machine also helped me to establish my pregnancy’s status. The pregnancy is progressing well….a big relief for me.”
Ms. Helen Kasandi, a resident of Kawangware urban informal settlements while appreciating the care at the center, stated,
“I’m not only happy to know that my baby is doing well, but I was also surprised to know that I am four months pregnant and not three months as I initially thought.” She also appreciated the highly professional team she interacted with at the center, “they were very kind and receptive to all of us. I appreciate the care they offered my baby and me; they treated us with dignity. I am now confident in my journey of motherhood, and I look forward to delivering a healthy baby in five months.”
The MJLC team is committed to implementing programs that seek to rescue pregnant women and children (unborn and born) from violence in urban informal settlements and other marginalized locations where the organization serves. We will continue journeying with women in these vulnerable locations as we acknowledge that they continually face crisis pregnancy situations that threaten their own dignity and that of their children.
The center continues to address violence against women and children from conception to natural death. So far, alongside the ultrasound services, the center has conducted more than 100 educational workshops and seminars, thus empowering 3,501 women in the informal urban settlements (slums) to make informed choices for the life and health of their baby/ies. These trainings further offer supportive guidance: psychological, spiritual, and economic livelihood resilience. Among the numerous beneficiaries of MJLC’s programs, 272 clients (individuals and groups) have been engaged in Holistic and Intensive Counseling.
Our utmost appreciation goes to our donors and supporters who have made it possible for us to give special attention to the unborn, who are often voiceless yet endangered, hoping someone will speak for them. Your generosity has truly made a difference!
Author: Ms. Esther Njeri Kibe MA, Shalom-SCCRR, Women Project Officer
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- The Mary and Joseph Life Center (MJLC): See our First Video. https://youtu.be/mBsYagVVQZQ
- An Informal Video of the Mary and Joseph Life Center (MJLC) Team in the Informal Urban Settlements where we work. https://youtu.be/mBsYagVVQZQ