His mission as a community nurse has been to help curb the spread of HIV. But while at it, Joseph Mositet discovered progress could only be made if other factors were equally looked upon through what he calls Health centred development
When Joseph Mositet moved to Mtongwe area in Mombasa county over a decade ago, he was armed with book knowledge on how he would work to ensure a healthy community. He also had held on the perception that coastal residents were a lazy lot.
However, fast forward to now, this has changed and he tells us some of the things he had to change to ensure the fundamental human right of health.
Tell us about your upbringing
I was born in August 1982 in Kiserian and went to Kiserian Primary and Naro Moru primary schools. I sat for my Kenya Certificate Primary Education examination in 1997 and later joined Enoomatasiani Secondary School for my O levels.
So how did you get to where you are now?
After that I joined Mombasa Medical Training College where I trained as a registered community health nurse. In 2008, I started working with Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in Mtongwe residents and discovered the task was not as easy as I had earlier thought. This is an area known for its criminal activities.
So, we had to change tact and opt for door-to-door testing for HIV on the locals. Before long, people started talking about the issue and we knew that we were making some progress. HIV/Aids has had its toll on the local population considering the level of poverty and cultural practices.
How did the people warm up to initiative?
We started a weekly forums to discuss HIV matters. It is at one of these events that women and youth began opening up. Owing to poverty, young mothers could not afford basic needs and were jobless. They depend on their husbands who, majority of whom were either casual labourers or jobless.
It is difficult for them to even come for the ARVs or even attend the counseling sessions because they are fending for their families. Some end up engaging in commercial sex work as a means to earn an income. It is common in the area to see girls as young as 14 years going for antenatal care, instead of being in school with their peers.
So, what did you do to help change the status?
It is after these engagements that the officer in charge at the comprehensive clinic decided to try some different methods of solving the problems. When I asked the youth in the mapped areas what they would do, some suggested that we help them get income-generating activities, which would also keep them busy. At first I asked my colleagues to help, and some did.
Any tangible results so far?
With the youth having skills in different areas, we have worked with different groups to help create jobs in the jua-kali sector such as carpentry and welding and others have opted to make crisps and snacks. Other groups have set up a car wash business. In some parts of Mtongwe, women groups have been receiving seeds and umbrellas and have opened their kiosks.