Harriet Afandi’s Journey as a Maternal Health Advocate

Maternal health is a beautiful journey that brings new life into the world, nurturing existence from the very beginning. It’s all about ensuring the well-being of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the time after giving birth. This aspect of healthcare holds immense importance because it directly affects not just the mother’s health, but also the survival and growth of the child. In fact, it ripples out to impact the overall well-being of communities and societies as a whole.

Expectant mothers across Kenya embark on a journey of hope as they anticipate bringing new life into the world. However, the path to safe and dignified maternal healthcare is often riddled with obstacles, exposing them to not only medical challenges but also abusive treatment at the hands of healthcare officials. Harriet Afandi, driven by her own experiences and compassion, has emerged as a relentless advocate for these women.

Harriet Afandi’s story is truly inspiring as she champions maternal health. Her journey shines a light on the challenges that pregnant women face while trying to access high-quality healthcare. Through her efforts, we not only get a clearer understanding of the problems at hand, but we also see promising solutions that have the potential to reshape the landscape of maternal health in our country.

“It’s a fundamental right for every woman to have access to healthcare that ensures her safety and dignity during pregnancy,” says Harriet Afandi, her voice resolute with conviction.

Judy Wambui’s plea for help at Kiambu Hospital

Recent incidents, such as the heart-wrenching video of Judy Wambui’s plea for help at Kiambu Hospital, have brought to light the stark reality of the mistreatment faced by expectant mothers in some healthcare facilities. Neglect, abuse, discrimination, and abandonment have become grim realities for many, tarnishing the sanctity of what should be a joyous occasion. Harriet Afandi’s journey reflects the urgency of addressing this crisis.

At the heart of this issue lies the role of the government in ensuring that proper access to quality healthcare is a reality, especially for expectant mothers. The rising cases of harassment and abuse within Kiambu Hospital’s premises underscore the need for immediate intervention. Harriet Afandi’s advocacy echoes the sentiment that it is the right of every citizen, including pregnant women, to receive the highest standard of care, safeguarding both their health and that of their unborn babies.

“The voice of every expectant mother matters. It’s a chorus demanding fairness, respect, and care,” emphasizes Afandi.

Fight for change extends beyond one case

The commitment of Kiambu County’s CECM Health, Dr. Elies Maina, and the Medical Superintendent of Kiambu Hospital to launch an investigation into Judy Wambui’s case signifies a glimmer of hope. Yet, Harriet Afandi’s journey reminds us that the fight for change extends beyond one case—it calls for comprehensive systemic transformation. The critical link between facility-based deliveries, skilled birth attendance, and maternal health becomes all the more evident in the wake of these incidents.

The petition at the center of Harriet Afandi’s advocacy highlights the urgency of change. The call for the Kiambu Governor, Hon. Kimani Wamatangi, to disclose the findings of the investigation, coupled with updates on corrective measures, signifies a demand for accountability. As the petition rightly emphasizes, every citizen has the right to reproductive healthcare, ensuring safe pregnancies, childbirth, and postpartum periods.

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“Change begins with acknowledging the need for change. Together, we’re pushing for transparency and the prioritization of maternal well-being,” Afandi asserts.

Harriet Afandi’s journey urges us to recognize that this isn’t just a battle for one region—it’s a call for nationwide change. With overwhelming evidence indicating the direct impact of access to skilled healthcare on maternal and newborn mortality rates, the urgency cannot be overstated. It’s a call for a healthcare system that is compassionate, patient-centered, and committed to safe deliveries for every mother and her unborn child.

In the face of adversity, Harriet Afandi’s unwavering determination underscores the power of individuals to drive change. Her journey amplifies the collective voice demanding better healthcare for expectant mothers, and a system that values the lives of those bringing new life into the world. It’s a journey toward a brighter, more compassionate future—one where every mother’s experience is characterized by respect, dignity, and quality care.

“Together, let’s be the architects of change. Our mission is clear—to ensure that no mother’s journey is overshadowed by fear and neglect,” Afandi passionately affirms.

As we reflect on Harriet Afandi’s unwavering dedication, her journey stands as a testament to the potential within each of us to instigate change. In unity, let’s champion maternal health advocacy, building a healthcare system that reflects the compassion and care that every mother deserves. Through collective action, we can usher in a new era of safe deliveries, healthier mothers, and stronger communities.

Sign the petition and support Afandi’s journey here.

Harriet Afandi is a Change Leader with the We Create Change Program by Nguvu Collective.

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