A community health volunteer advises a pregnant at an antenatal clinic in Marigat, Baringo County.

Every women counts: Campaign to increase access to services

published on Wednesday 15th of January 2020 06:57:45 AM

A new campaign aims to ensure over 31,600 pregnant women and mothers get quality maternal and child health services in close to 200 facilities in Baringo and Nakuru counties in the next 12 months. Dubbed “Fuata Mama”, the campaign is implemented jointly with the county departments of health. It aims to ensure women attend at least four antenatal care  visits, give birth in hospital and seek postnatal care services such as vaccination and medical checks for them and their children.

Over the next three months, some 2,500 women are expected to benefit from the services Kuresoi North and Kuresoi sub-counties in Nakuru as well as Baringo North, Baringo South, Baringo Central and Mogotio, all in Baringo County.

“Fuata Mama is about reaching the mothers and walking with them on the journey of a healthy pregnancy, safe delivery under the care of skilled birth attendants and raising healthy children,” said Afya Uzazi Chief of Party Dr Boniface Maket at the start of the accelerated multi-sectoral service-access drive.

“We are working towards creating an enabling environment in which communities and health workers are empowered to support pregnant women and mothers to protect their health and that of their children,” said Maket.“The campaign builds on successful efforts over the past three years by Afya Uzazi and the counties to increase access to quality health services, especially for pregnant women, mothers and young children,” said Dr Maket.

“This accelerated campaign will help position the county and communities to sustain access to quality healthcare in the long-run.”The goal is to have health-seeking behavior, especially among pregnant women, become a social norm under an enabling community and family environment. This is the only way, maternal, newborn and child health gains will be sustained in the long term.”

In preparation for the campaign, joint Afya Uzazi and county teams reached out to the community and mapped all households.  Trained community health volunteers (CHVs) will routinely visit the household to identify and refer pregnant women to nearby health facilities for services. As frontline workers, CHVs, supervised by community health extension workers (CHEWS), will play a critical role in sustaining and transitioning the campaign into a new social norm in which women routinely and promptly seek the health services they need.

The joint county teams will be on the ground to help in the campaign, meeting regularly to plan, review progress and  ensure the campaign remains on track. Chiefs, elders and other local opinion leaders have been fully consulted and will also be involved in the campaign. They will use forums they convene to educate communities and encourage parents to seek maternal and child health services.

During the campaign, mothers will be assisted to register for the Linda Mama scheme of the National Insurance Fund (NHIF) so that they ca receive services at public health facilities free of charge. Although significant progress has been made, a review of data shows that there is need to accelerated efforts to protect gains and ensure even more women and children receive the services they require for good health.

In Kenya, maternal mortality ratios remain high and the number of births attended by skilled healthcare workers is just around 44%. Nakuru and Baringo counties are not an exception, with some of the sub-counties recording even lower skilled births. For instance, uptake of skilled birth attendance (SBA) for Nakuru County in 2017 was 38%, and 11% for Kuresoi South and Kuresoi North sub-counties, while in Baringo County, uptake of skilled birth attendance was 40% in Marigat, 30% in Mogotio, 19% in Baringo North.

More information https://afyauzazi.org/maternal-and-newborn-health

Afya Uzazi Chief of Party Dr Boniface Maket visits a newborn unit at a health facility in Baringo County.

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