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Against All Odds

March 11, 2016

Eliza lives in Kibera with her three children; two daughters and a son. Inside their small house, eight year-old Mercy lies in bed ill. Her sister is in school and her young brother is playing outside. Eliza wishes she could stay home and take care of her sick daughter but her financial situation does not allow it.

Mercy’s condition was discovered when she was eighteen months old. Ever since she was born, her health has been poor. Eliza took her to different hospitals before the problem was discovered: Mercy suffers from sickle cell disease. Now she is booked for regular medical check-ups but often falls ill before the next appointment.

Before leaving the house to go to her part-time job as a hairdresser, Eliza ensures that her daughter has taken medicine and has eaten something. Taking her son with her to work, she packs his food and some toys to keep him busy. Back at the house, Mercy wishes she could be in school or play with friends, but her recurring crisis does not permit it.

Elizas’ income is not enough to cater for the family’s needs but she is determined to carry on despite the challenges. She submits her chama contributions, which include saving for her M-Health Wallet. “The chama contribution is key to my monthly budget. With the little I make from my salon, I ensure that I save for the chama, especially for the M-health Wallet”, says Eliza. Her daughter’s medical needs are mostly emergency, and with the M-health Wallet she can rush her to the nearest clinic, which she did as recently as on 7th January.

Mercy’s condition requires good planning in terms of healthcare expenses. But with frequent complications costs can soar, straining the budget and Eliza’s courage. Her small income covers only their basic needs; buying health insurance is too expensive.

As a mother, Eliza is very affected when she sees her daughter in pain. But she is determined not to let anything keep her down. She encourages parents with sick children to be strong for them because their support has great impact in their lives. For Eliza, each new day is full of hope for a better future for her children.

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