European Social Work in Developing Countries
Dr. Lenka Fabiánová
Trnava University’s Faculty of Healthcare and Social Work provides university education to young people from the slums in Nairobi, Kenya. They have the opportunity to study for Bachelor degrees (4 years), Master’s degrees (6 years) and PhD (3 years) programmes. In 2006 we started teaching the 3rd group of students in cooperation with the Catholic University of Eastern Africa; they are now in their third semester. I teach them Introduction to Social Work, Methods of Social Work and Social Work Communication Training. Since 2001, two groups of 20 students have graduated with Master’s and Bachelor degrees. All students also have the opportunity to undertake self-study in Amref and CUEA libraries and also to work in a PC laboratory which we have pre-paid for them. Studies are free of charge for all students. The practical part of the study involves providing health education in clinics, schools, public places and social work offices. The teaching lasts 13 weeks per semester, including 120 hours of practical placement per semester.
The Faculty has provided health care services at the Mary Immaculate Clinic for poor people from the Mukuru slum in Nairobi since 1997. Slovak doctors treat approx. 100 patients per day.
Mary Immaculate Children’s Nutrition Centre – part of the clinic – was established in January 2003. This programme is targeted at malnourished (marasmus, kwashiorkor and premature babies) and underweight children aged 0-3 years from the Mukuru slum. The children not suitable for breastfeeding (Child TB positive, HIV/ AIDS cases, cleft, mastitis etc.) and social cases (orphans, children of single parents, abandoned children, mother mentally handicapped) are enrolled in the programme. The main role of the programme is to seek out and recruit malnourished children and to improve their nutrition status by supporting them with infant formula, milk and porridge, to improve the social and health status of their families, to improve parents’ awareness of child care, the value of breastfeeding, the importance of immunization, nutritional balance, proper hygiene, family planning, prevention of children’s diseases and HIV / AIDS transmission. We monitor the children regularly every week by taking their measurements and weight and by carrying out home visits to their families. Once a week the parents or the guardians have individual or group counselling – self-support groups. Last year in May, we opened the same programme in the Lunga-Lunga slum, at the Charles Lwanga Nutrition Centre.
At the present the programme includes 150 children. I am the supervisor of the programme.
There is also the VCT – Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre for HIV/AIDS, staffed by our former students.
Social Work with Street Children
St. Kizito children’s home – From April 2006 Trnava University has been running a rehabilitation programme for street boys. I worked there as a social worker from June 2007 until February 2008. The plan for 2008 is to continue, innovate and upgrade all the projects.
Updated: 29. 03. 2017