We are currently hosting an online exhibition of photos taken by Daniel Jack Lyons for HealthRight International. The series, Portraits of Resilience, documents the lives of individuals and communities touched by the work of HealthRight. Limited and open edition prints from the series are available here.
Below are the incredible, inspiring and touching stories behind ten of the photographs. Check back next week for the remaining stories.
Awaiting Delivery in the North Rift Valley, Kenya
Salina Kangogo has traveled 150 kilometers to the maternity waiting home at the Ortum Mission Hospital built by HealthRight. Her first child was delivered at home, as is common in her village. Her second pregnancy was more difficult. After experiencing abnormal pains, she consulted a community health worker who explained the increased risks and encouraged Salina to go to the hospital in Ortum where she could safely stay until delivery. Salina went, despite superstitious rumors from her friends. Shortly after arriving, she went into early labor and doctors discovered that the baby was poorly positioned and becoming distressed. They moved quickly to deliver the baby through Caesarian section and, despite some complications, Salina gave birth to a healthy daughter named Lineth. Now, Salina is pregnant with her third child, and has no doubts about moving to the maternity waiting home for care throughout her third trimester and delivery.
Traditional Birth Attendant in the North Rift Valley, Kenya 1
Lucy Kapechwa, a traditional birth attendant in the village of Lelan, Kenya, is on her way home from work. Lucy was trained by her mother to attend births in the community, and now Lucy is teaching her own daughter to do the same. In order to address high instances of maternal death in her community, she is now working with the local clinic and HealthRight trained and supported Community Health Workers to broaden the traditional responsibilities of a home birth attendant. In addition to delivering babies in homes, Lucy can also bring mothers to the clinic and combine the modern techniques of trained nurses and doctors with her own extensive experience attending births.
The Community Mobilizer in the North Rift Valley, Kenya
Michael Agwala was born in West Pokot, Kenya and was raised in a nomadic community that is known to walk hundreds of kilometers in search of water and pasture. Due to his upbringing, Agwala has a unique ingenuity for community organizing and implementing community empowerment projects at a grassroots level. Since 2010, Agwala has worked for HealthRight as a community mobilizer, interfacing directly with community health volunteers, traditional birth attendants, and health facility staff to promote HealthRight-affliated maternal waiting homes. Agwala also serves as an essential link between community health workers and the Kenyan Ministry of Health through the facilitation of community-based trainings. In addition to his work, he is currently furthering his education at a local university where he studies community development.
Returning Home to the North Rift Valley, Kenya
Lineth Kipkemoi, 22, has just given birth to her third child. She delivered this healthy baby boy after traveling 150 kilometers to the nearest medical facility in the North Rift Valley. She spent her final trimester at a maternal waiting home built by HealthRight on the hospital grounds, learning about pre- and postnatal health and receiving regular check-ups. This photo was taken on Lineth’s final day at the maternity waiting home, just before taking her son home to meet his family for the first time.
Pregnant in the North Rift Valley, Kenya
Rael Simon, 18, is nine months pregnant with her second child. Her eldest was born three years ago in her hometown of Charangan, Kenya, delivered at home with the help of a traditional birth attendant. Unfortunately, due to complications during birth, Rael lost an extraordinary amount of blood and struggled to stay conscious. When Rael learned of this second pregnancy, she was concerned about delivering at home again. She decided to travel the 200 kilometers to the Ortum Mission Hospital, where she’s been staying in the maternity waiting home built by HealthRight for the duration of her third trimester. This photo shows Rael expecting to deliver at any moment.
Community Health Worker in the North Rift Valley Kenya
Isaiah Cheptarus, 24, is a mentor to the youth in his village and already a well-respected member of the community. Due to his trusted reputation, Isaiah was nominated by a local council to become the Community Health Worker (CHW) for his village. CHWs are equipped with referral privileges and a basic medical kit, and community members can come at any hour of the day to discuss their health concerns and ailments. When necessary, Isaiah makes referrals to the health clinic, and will often accompany them on the 60-kilometer trip to the clinic if they are unable to make it on their own. Isaiah accepted the position of community health worker with great honor and considers this one of his proudest moments. He now dedicates himself to protecting the health and well-being of his community. HealthRight supports approximately 1,000 CHWs who in turn serve 20,000 households in the North Rift Valley.
Traditional Birth Attendant in the North Rift Valley Kenya 2
Roseline Chepengat has been a traditional home birth attendant for longer than she can remember. Trained by a family member at a young age, she has assisted over 45 births. After a fatal incident during delivery involving a client who suffered from excessive bleeding, Roseline began to reconsider how she could best perform her job as a birth attendant. She participated in a training supported by HealthRight where she learned about the inherent risks associated with home deliveries and the importance of prenatal visits for pregnant women. Equipped with this information, Roseline, like many other traditional home birth attendants, now provides an important link to the formal health care system.
Mother and Son in Arghakhanchi, Nepal
Radha Khanal gave birth to her son, Kabita Khanal, two years ago from the date of this photo. She was initially reluctant to deliver in the health post, largely due to rumors in the community about terrible things that happen there. She also felt uncomfortable discussing her pregnancy with male doctors whom she felt could never truly understand what was happening in a woman’s body. One day a female community health worker convinced her to at least attend a prenatal check-up at the health post. When she arrived, Radha was relieved to meet a female service provider who assured her she would be present during the delivery. Feeling more at ease, Radha continued to attend check-ups at the health post until the morning she gave birth to Kabita. Since 2009 HealthRight has worked to improve access to safe delivery services, newborn care and postnatal care for mothers and babies in Nepal.
Donor of the Khana Community Clinic in Arghakhanchi, Nepal
When Dhundi Ram was a young boy, his mother fell sick and spent the last days of her life in a small clinic over 300 kilometers away from their home. Dhundi always resented the fact that his mother had to travel so far for basic services that could have saved her life had they been closer. In 1982, Dhundi donated land belonging to his family for several generations, to be used for the first and only health clinic in Khana today. In the 32 years since, he has visited the clinic every day to check on his investment. HealthRight has helped Dhundi’s efforts to prevent maternal and child fatalities by purchasing equipment for the clinic and by providing staff trainings. Dhundi is grateful to HealthRight for supporting his vision of improving health and safety in the community of Khana. At 82 years old, Dhundi says that he refuses to die until the Khana community health post is transformed into a full-fledged hospital with emergency care and a maternity ward.
Bishal in Arghakhanchi, Nepal
Bishal recently became an older brother. His mother, Sapara Rana, went into labor ten days prior to this photo and delivered a baby girl at the Khana community health post. Thankfully, Bishal’s baby sister was healthy upon delivery, but his mother suffered postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) and needed to be rushed to the nearest hospital with emergency care, over 200 kilometers away. There she recovered quickly, and Bishal was relieved to see his mother return home in time to participate in the naming ceremony for his new sister.