April 2017
Table of Contents
 
Chamas for Change: Strengthening Maternal and Child Health  
 
In East African culture, chamas are groups of women who come together to pool resources and receive support.  Similarly, Chamas for Change is a program initiated by AMPATH through the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health core to provide support to mothers by connecting them to other mothers from the same community unit. The groups integrate health, social and financial literacy education with a form of table banking that enables women to save and obtain loans.
 
When bundled together, this support is called GISHE - Group Integrated Savings for Health and Empowerment. Together, the women pledge to uphold the health-related goals of the chama ´╗┐which are: 1) to attend four prenatal care visits, 2) deliver in a facility, 3) breastfeed exclusively, 4) obtain long term family planning, and 5) ensure their children are fully immunized.
 
Since launching in October 2012 in Bunyala, Western Kenya, more than 800 mother-child pairs from 18 community units have participated in the program. Chama women are five times more likely to deliver in a facility and receive a 48 hour visit from a Community Health Volunteer.  From 2013-2014, 98% delivered in a facility, 91% breastfed exclusively to 6 months and 70% had received long-term family planning. 
 
Fathers are getting involved too, forming groups called Chama cha BabaToto to promote greater male involvement in pregnancy and parenting.
 
Based on this program’s great success, AMPATH is scaling-up this work to two new counties and integrating this solution into broader population health strategies.
 
 
 
Addressing Cervical Cancer through Research  
 
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in the developing world, including Kenya. According to the World Health Organization, over one million women are currently diagnosed with cervical cancer, typically associated with infection by HPV.
 
Little is known about how the HIV infection affects cervical cancer rates, though AMPATH researchers are at the forefront of new discoveries.
 
To address research gaps around cervical and other AIDS-related cancers, the AMPATH Oncology Program hosted an international research conference in Eldoret from March 22-24, 2017. More than 100 individuals from 7 different countries attended and shared their cutting edge research on cervical cancer, including the impact of HIV and the quality of life for patients with cervical cancer.
 
AMPATH’s progress researching and fighting cervical cancer was clear among the many U54 conference attendees (U54 is a type of grant from the US National Cancer Institute). For almost a decade, AMPATH’s cervical cancer screening and treatment programs have become a model for care, particularly through leadership from Brown University and the University of Toronto’s long-term commitment to reproductive health in Kenya.
 
      
 
AMPATH Spotlight: Dean Lukoye Atwoli 
 
Lukoye Atwoli is not only an active leader driving AMPATH forward, but also a nationwide advocate for health in Kenya.
 
Atwoli was drawn to medicine at an early age after being treated for malaria at Kenyatta National Hospital and discharged with, “an enduring respect for medicine, and the desire to become a doctor and make a difference in people’s lives. That has never left me, to this day.”
 
Since 2007, Atwoli has been associated with AMPATH activities in roles at Moi University including a practicing psychiatrist, a teacher, a researcher, and an administrator. In 2013 he became the fifth Dean of Moi University’s School of Medicine. He graduated in the fifth class of Moi’s School of Medicine, and went on to specialize in trauma and posttraumatic stress disorders with a Master of Medicine from the University of Nairobi and a PhD in Psychiatry from the University of Cape Town
 
He also considers himself a “medical politician” who advocates for system-wide changes through his involvement in health and research organizations, along with writing a weekly column for Kenya’s Sunday Nation.  
 
Atwoli visited Indiana University’s Indianapolis campus in April 2017 to receive an award for his outstanding efforts to expand the Kenya partnership and improve global health.
 
 
       

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