State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


New health and community facilities in Sauri

Post by Salome Munyendo

Members of the small community of Uranga, in Western Kenya, don’t have to walk long distances anymore to access healthcare. Now, they can visit St. Elizabeth Onding dispensary, which was inaugurated recently by local officials and the Sauri Millennium Village team. The villagers were so aware of the need for such a facility that one of them donated the plot where it was built, while others contributed with bricks and construction material.

Tree planting at the inauguration of the new dispensary

Previously, they traveled for over 5 km to access healthcare. With its rain water harvesting system and a rail along the ramp to support patients as they walk in, St. Elizabeth Onding dispensary is making a big difference in their lives. Situated at the foot of a valley, the health facility services the 5,000 residents, offering out-patient services, laboratory services, pharmacy, patient support centre and maternity unit with childbirth care.

People lined up on the very first day to receive care: over 250 patients were seen! On that occasion, the government fee of 20 Ksh (2 cents US) was relieved. The facility is already gazetted and due to benefit from government medical supplies and personnel.

It was pomp and colour as invited guests, students, and locals streamed to witness the inauguration filled with music, dance and feasting. Several ornamental trees were planted on this occasion. “Good work, keep it up,” wrote the area Member of Parliament Jakoyo Midiwo in the visitors’ book. “We have been toiling all the way going to Ramula,” the closest community with a health facility, he added in a speech during the event. Speaker after speaker praised the efforts that had gone into the works. The District Public health officer Joshua Ondiege said: “We believe that health indicators are going to improve.”

Community members were challenged to make full use of the facility and maintain it to the required government standard. Women particularly were urged to deliver in the dispensary to reduce home delivery cases reported in the area.

Youth group performs at the event

Addressing the MVP team, the MP said: “Your formula works without corruption. I wish somebody in Government would take it and implement it even just for three years. Poverty and hunger will be eradicated”. He cautioned the community that “hard work is a must as Millennium (Villages Project) have shown us the way.”

Sauri also witnessed recently the inauguration of two community resource centers. The first one, in Marenyo, hosts a radio room, administrator’s office, library, computer room, village bank, and cereal store. Marenyo residents can’t wait to turn the radio on in the morning and listen to the news! And young people will have the opportunity to take computer lessons.

The second one in Nyawara was opened under morning showers which villagers saw as a sign of God’s blessing. Community elders and political leaders danced the “Ohangla”, a traditional dance. Nyawara CRC houses a computer room, adult education class, community hall, village bank, assistant chief’s office, and a mini honey processing plant. Community members were trained to manage the facility.

Sauri’s villagers, who contributed over 10% towards the construction of these facilities, are even looking beyond what they offer and capitalizing on their presence to establish small businesses around them.

Salome Munyendo is a Program Assistant at the Sauri Millennium Village. She is based in Sauri, Kenya.

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Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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