Reproductive Health 453
Ways to improve women’s health
You may be able to improve health services by becoming
a link between health services and your refugee community.
Help staff understand the traditions and needs of your people.
You can also request some of the following changes:
• If the clinic is far away, ask for it to be open more hours
at least one day a week. Ask for women health workers
to be available on that day, especially if the women in your
community cannot be examined by men.
• If the health workers do not speak your language or
understand your birthing practices, ask to have a birth
attendant or midwife from your community explain
these practices to those at the health center.
• Ask for classes for adolescent girls and
women on family planning, HIV, STIs, prenatal
care and birth, and nutrition. Remind health
center staff that women need a private area
for discussing STIs.
• Request extra feedings for pregnant and
breastfeeding women. If there is not enough
food available for a healthy diet, these women
should receive vitamin pills.
• Request that health workers receive training
in treating the special health needs of women.
I’m glad they are also
teaching us about
family planning at
these nutrition classes!
Becoming a health worker
Many camps train refugee women to be health workers, community health
workers (CHWs),TBAs, and health educators, since they can speak the language of
the other women and help improve the health of the whole camp.
In Camp Kakuma in northern Kenya, for example, southern Sudanese refugee
women are very involved in health care. Many TBAs have been given more
training and birthing kits, and other women are now CHWs and health educators.
They are being trained in a way
that will allow them to work in
both the southern Sudan and
in Kenya when they leave the
camp. Sara Elija, a refugee from
the Sudan, says that her new
role as a TBA trainer has given
her hope for work when she is
no longer a refugee.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012