7th May, 2019
The Ministry of Health Baringo County in partnership with USAID’s Afya Uzazi Program and other partners launched the Malezi Bora campaign in Marigat Township. The theme of the two-week health drive is “Strengthening maternal and child health services for attainment of UHC (universal health coverage)”.
Local leaders and community members thronged the venue, where scores of children were given Vitamin A supplements to mark the beginning ot the campaign during which health care workers and volunteers also provide nutrition education and services.
Children, primary beneficiaries of the Malezi Bora, treated the gathering to entertaining yet educational skits on good nutrition and the importance of seeking health services.
Malezi Bora week is a bi-annual campaign which aims at making health services more accessible and provide health education. The campaign encourages mothers with children under five years to seek services such as immunization, growth monitoring, treatment for diarrhea using affordable oral rehydration solutions (ORS), Vitamin A supplementation and deworming. Mothers also receive free insecticide-treated mosquito nets to protect them and their children from malaria.
Kenya has experienced a significant decline in the under five mortality rate over years. According Kenya Demographic Data of 2014, Kenya’s under-five mortality rate was 52 per 1000 live birth compared to the 2003 data which reported 115 per 1000 livebirths.
Campaigns such as Malezi Bora are important in harnessing available resources to increase access to essential services that can help reverse the trend. For instance, routine vitamin A supplementation for in infants and children 6-59 months of age reduces the risk of all-cause mortality by about a quarter.
Speaking at the event, the Marigat Sub-County Health Services Coordinator Mrs. Roselyn Leiro, said malnutrition and diarrheal cases are the underlying contributors to child deaths within the region. She appealed to mothers to maintain a healthy diet and practice proper sanitation and hygiene to protect their families’ health.
Baringo County First Lady Ivy Kiptis, who was the chief guest at the launch, emphasised the importance of immunization. She urged mothers to visit health facilities for services such as immunization.
"Immunization will protect our children from serious diseases, we need to take charge of our children's health"she said. “We must also practice and teach our children the health benefits of proper hygiene to prevent disease,” she said.
Mrs Kiptis joined health workers and children in a demonstration on the proper way to wash hands. She helped to give Vitamin A doses to young children and hand over mosquito nets to their mothers.
“I am so happy to have received a treated net which will protect me from malaria, I will remove my old net and use the new one,” said Irene Chebii, one of the mothers who received a net.
“So many people in my village suffer from malaria, atleast my family will be protected,” said Purity Kiplagat, another mother who was presented a net by the Marigat Sub-County Admnistrator Julius Bolei.
Mariam Ayeta, a young mother, says a community health volunteer referred her to the clinic to receive the Malezi Bora services. Mariam walked a long distance to reach the health facility but said she was happy about what she learnt.“I was taught a lot on child care, my child also received the vitamins … I will encourage other mothers in my village to come to the clinic too during the Malezi Bora week”.
“About 100,000 children in Baringo County will receive Vitamin A and deworming tablets, while 57,000 expectant women will get insecticide treated nets” says Anne Kimwa, the Baringo County Nutritionist
“ Our main role as community health workers is to ensure that mothers and children understand the benefits of these health services,” said the Ndambul village CHV, Priscah Chemobo.
Afya Uzazi works with the Ministry of Health and the Baringo County Government to improve access to quality health services. Besides supporting campaigns such as Malezi Bora, Afya Uzazi provides technical and material support to improve routine services at the facility and community levels.
Through mentorship and other system strengthening approaches, Afya Uzazi work to build the capacity of the county and communities to sustain services.