A SUNDERLAND health visitor has been helping to change lives in Kenya.
Army Reservist Major Linda Taberner, 58, has been on Exercise ASKARI Serpent with 33 Field Hospital, delivering health care advice to outreach villages in the African country.
Major Taberner, who joined the reserves 14 years ago, said: “Health visitors do not exist in Kenya. I feel extremely privileged to have been invited to join a very worthwhile and rewarding exercise.”
Unlike children in the UK who are monitored from birth to starting school, there is nothing in place in Kenya, meaning development issues do not come to light.
Major Taberner said: “There is no support at home from medical services when a baby is born or if you have young children under school age; mothers are content and capable and seem to take everything in their stride.
“There is no such thing as formula to make a bottle for a baby. Every woman breastfeeds and they do this amazingly, which gives the child the perfect start to life. When you look around and see children with no shoes or inadequate clothing, it is not a sign of neglect, it is their way of life.”
The main aim of health visitors on this exercise is to provide advice and record the development of children.
Major Taberner, who was born in Sunderland but now works for Astonleigh and Wigan NHS, said: “Most issues I have come across are teething problems, nappy rash and eye infections, which we have a simple solution to, but the biggest problem is the environment that the people live in. “This isn’t something we can resolve but hopefully through giving advice, in the long term they will be able to help themselves.”