Two mothers safely delivered healthy babies after emergency operations at a newly opened theatre in Marigat Catholic Mission Health Centre in Baringo County on May 16th and 19th.
The deliveries that took place just days after a team from the Baringo County Department of Health approved operations at the theatre, housed in a converted two-bedroom house previously occupied by a nurse.
The surgeries are a big milestone for health centre, which started in the 1970s as a mobile clinic. “With the theatre and a resident doctor, we have applied to be moved from level 3 to 4,” says Sister Monari, the nurse who manages the health centre.
Locally known as Marigat PHC because of its long-running primary health care programme in Baringo, the hospital serves about 200-250 mothers at the antenatal clinic and records an average 60 births a month.
“In December (2019), we referred 10 pregnant women to Kabarnet for emergency operations, but we can now manage such cases here,” says Sister Monari. “It is an exciting period for us.”
The health centre is registered to offer free antenatal care and maternity services under the national government-sponsored Linda Mama scheme run by the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF). Following the opening of the theatre, Sister Monari has applied for certification to offer surgeries under the scheme.
Sister Monari recalls how the idea of a theatre was born. “Dr (Marsden) Solomon of Afya Uzazi recommended that we put up a theatre, but we did not have the funds. He told us that we could be supported to convert any suitable existing space into a theatre.”
The only available space was the two-bedroom house, previously occupied by a government nurse who relocated. Dr Solomon brought in the county team and together they advised the health centre on the requirements that must be met to convert the building into a theatre.
After the renovations to the building were completed, the county team gave a go ahead for the facility to be equipped.
Afya Uzazi provided theatre lights to supplement equipment the health centre installed. The lights were among essential equipment procured with USAID support to help facilities improve the quality of care for mothers and children. The facility also received an incubator, warmer, ultrasound machine and a resuscitaire, which helps babies to breathe.
With technical support from the project and the county, the facility’s management met all the requirements and invited the county to conduct a final inspection.
Afya Uzazi supports over 60 health facilities to provide life-saving maternity care in Baringo and Nakuru counties.