Bridgewater Health Visitor Linda Taberner has been in Kenya during the past month as part of her role as an Army Reservist.
Linda, who is usually based at Pemberton Health Centre in Wigan, visited Kenya as part of Exercise ASKARI Serpent with 33 Field Hospital, delivering healthcare advice to outreach villages in Kenya.
Linda has been an Army Reservist for the past 14 years and has the ranking of Major in her role.
She said of her visit to Kenya:
“Health visitors do not exist in Kenya so I feel extremely privileged to have been invited to join a very worthwhile and rewarding exercise.
“Unlike children in the UK who are monitored from birth to starting school, there is nothing in place in Kenya and therefore any development issues do not come to light. Mothers are very resilient and use whatever resources they have, which is often very little.
“There is no support at home from medical services when a baby is born. There is no such thing as formula to make a bottle for a baby, every woman breastfeeds and they do this amazingly which gives the child the perfect start to life.
“Most issues I have come across are teething problems, nappy rash and eye infections, which we have a simple solution to, but the biggest problem is the environment that the people live in; not something we can resolve but hopefully through giving advice, in the long term they will be able to help themselves.”
Linda added about her experience:
“This is something I will talk about for the rest of my life. I have gained so much and really appreciate how easy we do have it at home. I do feel we have made a difference if only in a small way. Giving advice to mothers is always a good start and could inevitably prevent something becoming worse.”