What you need to know:
- Homa Bay is one of the 15 counties in Kenya that Safaricom foundation identified as areas where more women and children die during deliveries against the global target which, according to Sustainable Development Goal 3 should be less than 70 deaths for every 100,000 live births.
Expectant mothers and newborns in Homa Bay County have started benefiting from improved maternal health care services in new facilities set up by the Safaricom Foundation at a cost of Sh38 million.
The telco has renovated a newborn unit at the county referral hospital at a cost of Sh1.3 million, raising its capacity from 10 to 35 infants.
At Ndhiwa sub-county hospital, officials from the foundation in partnership with Amref opened a Sh 36.9 million maternal, newborn and child health care unit constructed under the Uzazi Salama initiative.
The projects are meant to reduce cases of maternal mortality in the county which remains high at 362 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey.
Homa Bay is one of the 15 counties in Kenya that the foundation identified as areas where more women and children die during deliveries against the global target which, according to Sustainable Development Goal 3 should be less than 70 deaths for every 100,000 live births.
Last month, a Form Four student at Nyajanja Mixed Secondary School died after delivery at the county referral hospital due to complications. Several women have also lost their lives due to complications for lack of specialised tools and infrastructure to handle emergency cases.
Safaricom Foundation Trustee Patricia Ithau, who accompanied Governor Gladys Wanga during the opening of the new units last week, said the facility in Ndhiwa will be central in promoting delivery of quality health services to targeted residents in Ndhiwa, Suba and neighbouring areas where at least 40 per cent of deliveries happen at home.
“Homa Bay is one of the counties where expectant women and newborn babies are faced with challenges that lead to death. This is unfortunate,” she said. “No mother should lose their child or their life while delivering. Every baby born should be saved.”
Some 1,257 deliveries were recorded at Ndhiwa sub-county hospital from January to November this year. Twenty-five infant deaths were recorded during the same period, with five dying within seven days of birth.
Amref Health Africa (Kenya) Country Director Meshack Ndirangu said his organisation is working with other partners to improve maternal health in the county.
Ms Wanga said the facility in Ndhiwa is the best in the county, with two theatres.
Up to 50 per cent of women from Ndhiwa were found to be shying away from delivering at the sub-county hospital after registering for prenatal services.
“We hope the facility will attract mothers to deliver at the hospital because most of them report to hospital during pregnancy but disappear during delivery,” Ms Wanga said.