What you need to know:
- The fully equipped Sena hospital has brought a lot of relief to hundreds of residents who, for years, were forced to travel across the lake in search of health services.
- Remba, Takawiri, Ringiti, Ngodhe, Kibuogi and Kiwa islands all in Homa Bay have for years been dependent on eight poorly equipped dispensaries focused on malaria and HIV diagnosis.
At eight months pregnant, in another time, Ms Irene Adoyo, would have been among the expectant women preparing to travel across Lake Victoria in readiness to receive their bundle of Joy.
Ms Adoyo, who resides in Kitawi, Mfangano Island, in Homa Bay County, says her previous three hildren were born at Mbita sub-county hospital due to lack of adequate facilities at the hospital near her home – Sena hospital. The facility also lacked well-trained workers to perform various medical services.
“This has been tough for us, with some forced to deliver in the hands of traditional birth attendants,” says Ms Adoyo. “Some women would be forced to rent houses on the mainland while waiting to deliver.”
However, last month, Ms Adoyo gave birth to a bouncing baby girl at the Sena Level 4 hospital; she did not have to travel across the lake. When her labour pains kicked in on December 2, she had quickly picked her hospital bag and with the help of her husband rushed to the facility.
Although she had a successful vaginal birth, the new mother says that she had been convinced that the experts would have taken good care of her in case of any emergency.
When the Healthy Nation team visited her, Ms Adoyo had just welcomed her fourth child. She shared her painful motherhood experiences in previous years.
“Many times, I would be separated from my husband while getting a proper meal was yet another challenge on the mainland,” she says.
The fully equipped Sena hospital has brought a lot of relief to hundreds of residents who, for years, were forced to travel across the lake in search of health services. Remba, Takawiri, Ringiti, Ngodhe, Kibuogi and Kiwa islands all in Homa Bay have for years been dependent on eight poorly equipped dispensaries focused on malaria and HIV diagnosis.
At the facility, we also meet Ms Phanice Wankio who is here to receive treatment due to a constant pain in her legs. She reveals that she had already made plans to travel by boat to Mbita sub-county hospital for treatment.
“I suspended my journey after learning that I could as well get the services within the island,” says Ms Wankio.
On October 20, Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga launched the upgraded facility with a promise to make health care a priority on the islands.
According to Ms Wanga, the facility will now conduct surgical operations for patients in the islands, except for complicated cases that will be handled at the Homa Bay County Teaching and Referral Hospital. The facility will also offer blood transfusion services.
“No one from the islands will have to spend hours on water while in pursuit of medical attention, we have also supplied enough drugs to ensure the facility is functional,” said Ms Wanga.
“We are committed to ensure pregnant women receive better services in our facilities,” added Ms Wanga.
In an interview, the hospital administrator, Ms Oprah Winfrey, said the number of patients visiting the facility has increased from 20 to 70 per day. She said that the facility is also planning to start offering inpatient services.
Despite the major progress, there are still as few challenges facing the hospital.
“We need more nurses, clinical officers, laboratory technicians and other staff to enhance service delivery to residents,” said Ms Winfrey.