Although an economic leader in the East African region, Kenya has recently suffered from political instability that has had serious repercussions for its infrastructure and economy. Post-election violence in 2008 resulted in more than 1,000 deaths, displaced 350,000 and caused economic disruption throughout the country and East Africa. For Caroline Mlinga, a young Kenyan woman looking to advance her career and earn money to support herself, resources and job opportunities in this climate were extremely hard to find.
Caroline began working with International Medical Corps in Suba District as a Community Mobilizer for our Home-Based HIV Counseling and Testing (HBCT) program. With Caroline’s help, International Medical Corps was able to drastically increase the number of individuals being tested and treated for HIV. Kenya has one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS rates, with an estimated 1.5-2 million infected. Due to Caroline’s diligence and competency in her work, International Medical Corps sponsored her for Volunteer Counseling and Testing (VCT) training and upon completion of the program, hired her as a provider of VCT services. With the additional money Caroline was earning as a provider, she was able to enroll in a diploma counseling course which she successfully completed in 2010. Armed with the knowledge and counseling skills she received through training and assistance from International Medical Corps, Caroline was able to secure a stable job opportunity while helping fellow Kenyans receive much needed health services for HIV/AIDS. She is currently working with the University of California at San Francisco on an HIV/AIDS-related research project on Mfangano Island in Kenya.
International Medical Corps has worked in Kenya since 1998 to implement programs including primary health care; nutrition; tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and education; mental health and psychosocial care; sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response , as well as livelihood training and opportunities. True to our mission of building local capacity, International Medical Corps focuses on training and mentoring local health workers in Kenya like Caroline Mlinga to ensure that our programs continue to be carried on once a project is completed. On behalf of our Kenya field team, we congratulate Caroline on her graduation and wish her the best of luck in all her endeavors!