SSAFA’s health visiting involvement in BATUK, Kenya began in 2016 when the charity was asked to consider providing a service for families.
AFF’s Kenya Co-ordinator provided evidence of the need for a health visitor, while our Health & Additional Needs Specialist Karen Ross highlighted the issue in meetings with Defence Primary Healthcare Overseas. After talks with the community, it was clear that families were keen to have access to a UK-style service.
“The medical team here have never made me feel as if I’m a being a nuisance,” explained Army spouse Rebecca Walker. “But I couldn’t help but feel I was wasting their time taking Ollie to see them about what could be seen as trivial matters.”
With support from Lt Col Johnson and his team at the medical centre, SSAFA agreed to provide a remote health visiting service using an app, Skype and email, with health visitor Kerry Riley visiting BATUK in person for one week every three months.
Rebecca added: “When I was told a virtual clinic was being arranged I wasted no time in getting in touch with Kerry. I needed some advice on sleep training. The GoTo Meeting app was easy to install and I managed to talk to Kerry via video conference, which allowed her to see Ollie too. In fact he had great fun talking to her.
“We’re about to move within Kenya so Kerry’s advice was perfect timing. She’s like a health visitor in my back pocket, always on the end of a phone. This wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of the BATUK medical team and AFF.”
Jane Bojdys, SSAFA nurse and public health lead, said: “They’re an amazing group of parents who are resilient and who have formed a supportive community.
“We are grateful to have this opportunity to ensure that families have the correct support, information and guidance to help them enjoy being parents.”
The project includes an electronic version of the Redbook, which records children’s health, immunisation information and developmental milestones.
“It has been a long process to secure the funding for SSAFA to deliver this service,” said AFF’s Kenya Co-ordinator Nicola Green. “But it’s clearly working and could be a great model to duplicate in other areas where there is currently limited or no health visitor support.”
Contact AFF’s Kenya Co-ordinator, Nicola Green, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org