Nomadic Health Project in Northeast Kenya
Save the Children, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has partnered with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Centre for Behavior Change and Communication on the Nomadic Health Project. This 4-year (2018-2021) project seeks to increase use of quality family planning services among nomadic and semi-nomadic populations in Kenya and around the world by engaging regional stakeholders to share lessons on effective, scalable approaches based on an effective and scalable model.
Sixty percent of the world's estimated 50-100 million nomads and semi-nomads live in Africa. Nomadic and semi-nomadic populations exist across sub-Saharan Africa including East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), South Sudan, the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia) and the Sahel Region (Burkina Faso, Chad, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Sudan).
Representing some of the most marginalized and disadvantaged populations, nomadic and semi-nomadic populations have little access to health services and are disproportionately vulnerable to infectious diseases such as polio, malaria and helminthiasis (parasitic worms).Women in nomadic and semi-nomadic populations have high maternal mortality rates, high fertility rates and low use of health services, including family planning.
Due to the mobile existence of these communities and the associated cost of improving access to services, governments often push for shifts in lifestyle (i.e. settlement) rather than developing responsive service provision models. Limited efforts to develop and implement service delivery models for nomadic and semi-nomadic communities in some countries have generally been small scale with limited dissemination and subsequent uptake nationally or by other countries faced with similar challenges. As such, nomadic and semi-nomadic populations are notably missing from government policies and strategy documents
that drive resource allocations in health. Little is known of how to best provide essential health care, including quality family planning services, especially with appropriate community involvement
Phases & Approach
- The first phase involves formative research and mapping of regional stakeholders and platforms to better understand critical demand and supply challenges, and to inform intervention strategies.
- During the second phase, we will use the findings of the first phase to refine implementation strategies, including rapid prototyping and iterative refinement of pieces of our model with the nomadic and semi-nomadic communities, refine the learning agenda, and hold the first regional learning exchange meeting.
- The third phase will involve implementation of the model with continued collaborative learning and refinement of the identified strategies through close monitoring to allow for early detection of model success/failure and the need for adaptation or course correction. During this phase, we will actively engage with regional networks and use established online platforms to share learning and experiences from the project.
- The fourth phase will involve final data analysis and dissemination of learnings, the use of documented project experience and evidence to finalize implementation toolkits and guides, and intensified engagement with donors, partners and ministries of health and through regional networks for adaptation and scale-up of the model.