Education is Key for Better Community Health
Maïmouna lives with her husband in Bouaké, the second largest city in Côte d’Ivoire. She wanted to start a family, but she and her husband were having trouble conceiving. Maïmouna had little knowledge of local health resources until she was approached by a community peer and health educator who introduced her to reproductive health education group counseling, supported by the Keneya project.
Project Keneya is an Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF)-supported program operating in the central and northern regions of Côte d’Ivoire. This project is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and focuses on providing community-based HIV services, including HIV prevention, care and support and peer education. Project Keneya also trains peer educators and offers HIV prevention and reproductive health services and education.
Maïmouna’s friend and peer educator brought her to one of these educational sessions, where topics ranging from safe sex, HIV risk reduction, condom use, HIV counseling and testing, and sexually transmitted infection management were discussed. Maïmouna realized that the information she received in these sessions was crucial to living a healthy life. She also learned that poor sexual and reproductive health could be a cause of infertility.
She continued to attend the educational sessions and was inspired to become a peer educator herself. Maïmouna started working with the local organization supported by Keneya, and was enrolled as a peer educator to support community outreach activities.
“During the training, I learned many things I was unaware of and I grew confident that I could talk to other women with all that I heard and saw.” Maïmouna shared her learnings with her husband. They met with a doctor who provided a consultation and treatment. Maïmouna experienced first-hand how reproductive health education can have a positive effect on fertility. “Because of Project Keneya, I understood that I was suffering from something that could make me infertile.”
Maïmouna remains an important resource in the community. With the funds she has received from her peer education work, Maimouna was afforded the opportunity to begin her own juice business in her community. She and her husband are hopeful they will be able to conceive in the very near future.