TWO Leeds health workers have helped prevent the spread of HIV in Kenya.
During a three-week visit, Tina Leslie and Anita Jones set up a project for a charity aiming to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Aids.
Tina Leslie, health improvement practitioner on the Neighbourhoods Team for NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds, said they had the experience of a lifetime. “Working with the charity was such a rewarding experience, especially as we managed to achieve everything that we wanted to and more,” she said.
Tina and Anita – an experienced midwife – worked with UK charity Tumaini Homes of Hope to set up a pilot project in the Kilifi, one of the poorest districts in Kenya.
As well as cutting the risk of mother-to-baby HIV transmissions, the project also aims to reduce the number of mums and infants dying unnecessarily.
Figures show that in the country 1 in 17 deaths among women are linked to issues which could be prevented, such as a lack of access to healthcare, pre-eclampsia leading to eclampsia which causes high blood pressure and sepsis, in which the bloodstream is overwhelmed by bacteria.
In addition, fewer than half of women have a birth attendant present when they give birth. Tina said they were pleased with the work they had been able to do.
“In just three short weeks we were able to reach our initial aims which were to recruit, train, and integrate community midwifery support workers into two deprived areas, where they work within two local health centres.
“They are supporting local midwives with the care of pregnant women in antenatal clinics and postnatal clinics, gaining valuable, practical experience. The ultimate aim of the project is to go into the hard-to-reach communities where there are no healthcare facilities available.
“However, we went far beyond our initial target. Thanks to the support of the Kenyan Ministry of Health and medical staff, as well as other organisations the charity has established a free medical clinic that is available once every three months.
“The clinic now focuses on our target group which is pregnant women and children under five offering free health checks, particularly HIV testing and free medicines. We look forward to hearing more about the future development of the project and hope to go back soon.”
Both women have now been accepted as trustees. For more details visit