Contributions by Eddah Ogogo | Written by Hannah Bain
The Story of Eddah Ogogo
Eddah Ogogo has always had a “passion for serving humanity.” That passion drew her to the Kibera community in 2012, where she volunteered at Carolina for Kibera’s (CFK) Tabitha Medical Clinic for nine months. During that time, she realized that myths and misconceptions surrounding health care were two of the most significant barriers to improving health within the community. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation, coupled with myths and misconceptions, has created additional challenges to front-line healthcare workers.
“Many people in Kibera were hesitant to accept vaccinations or medications on fear of the fallacy that they will cause harm,” Eddah said. “Some refused to visit healthcare facilities because they believed that they would contract certain diseases; others relied on traditional healers and in traditional methods of care. Low literacy levels in the community made it difficult to provide this group with accurate information.”
In 2018, Eddah joined CFK as a full-time staff member, responsible for the coordination of activities across CFK’s four health clinics: the Tabitha Medical Clinic, Tabitha Maternity Center, Lishe Bora Nutrition Center, and Young Health and Wellness Center. Eddah also manages CFK’s Community Health Outreach Program.
Tabitha Medical Clinic alone serves between 150 and 250 patients each day for services ranging from immunization to TB care. The Tabitha Maternity Center provides antenatal care, comprehensive maternity care with delivery services, treatment for HIV+ mothers, and support for immunization and care for children under five. The Nutrition Center rehabilitates children with severe malnutrition while the Young Health and Wellness Center offers sexual and reproductive health programs, recreation and education activities, and counseling.
The Community Health Outreach Program recruits and trains Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) to engage with community members and connect them to CFK healthcare services. Eddah believes in the power of CHVs and hopes to transform them into “champions” for health behavior change in the community.
A Passion for Personalized Care
“What makes CFK unique is its focus on members of the community and its holistic approach for providing health care and wellbeing,” Eddah said. “When we connect with people in the community, we’re thinking about how we can serve them regardless of their age or the phase of life that they are in. When I meet a family, I’m thinking about how we can ensure that their newborn baby is well-nourished. When that child begins to grow, I think about connecting them to scholarship opportunities and programs at the Young Health and Wellness Center. And for the mothers, I know that we can provide them with pre-natal care and safe delivery at our Tabitha Maternity Home.”
Working across four different clinics comes with challenges, but Eddah has learned how to manage diverse groups and implement successful programs through individualized approaches.
“I have learned to constantly learn and adapt on the job,” Eddah said. “Strategic thinking is one of the most important skills that I have developed over the last few years.”
When she first started working with CFK, Eddah remembers one particular child that was undergoing treatment for severe acute malnutrition and was in and out of the nutrition program for more than a year. Instead of continuing to use the same resources and strategies, Eddah and her team interviewed the child’s family members to establish a better understanding of the situation. They then developed a personalized structure for monitoring the child from home. After three months, the child was able to enroll in school and has not needed additional treatment from the Center.
“Seeing change come alive in members of the community that we serve is the most fulfilling part of my job,” Eddah said.
Though much of Eddah’s work now focuses on responding to the needs and challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, she hopes to expand CFK’s services in the future.
“I am excited about moving our success stories and community health outreach program to all of the villages in Kibera and areas outside of Kibera,” she said. “I would especially like to replicate the nutrition program to impact more lives. We have been planning for expansion at CFK, and I believe that we are finally ready.”
Learn more about how our primary healthcare facilities are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.