Nineteen-year-old Caroline Rotich is the first mother to deliver at the newly opened Mogotio Sub-County Hospital’s maternity wing. She developed labour pains at night and was rushed to the hospital. She safely delivered her firstborn in the hands of skilled health workers at the facility. But her child had come too early and needed special care. Luckily the hospital had all the required equipment, including a machine to help the newborn breathe and a room warmer.The nurses helped her to practice Kangaroo Mother Care, a simple practice of providing a constant skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby and the exclusive breast milk that will enable her care for the baby at home. Many more mothers and their babies will benefit from the hospital which started offering services after receiving equipment procured with support from USAID through the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) and Afya Uzazi Nakuru-Baringo Program.
Baringo County Governor Stanley Kiptis officially opened the new maternity wing at the Mogotio Sub-County Hospital. This hospital is one of 135 public health facilities and four private clinics in 18 wards in Baringo County that received equipment procured with support from the US Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The equipment was supplied through the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) and Afya Uzazi Nakuru-Baringo Program, is five-year project funded by USAID that works with the counties to improve people’s access to quality health services for mothers, newborns, young children and adolescents.The new equipment combined with training and other technical support provided in by the county in partnership with USAID’s Afya Uzazi program has enhanced the hospital’s capacity to provide quality health services for pregnant women, mothers and newborns. As a result, Mogotio Sub-County Hospital delivered the first baby two weeks ago, setting the trend for increasing the number of women giving birth under skilled attendants at the facility.
The newly installed equipment combined with training and mentorship with support from USAID Afya Uzazi will enable health care providers to offer quality health care throughout pregnancy as well as during and after delivery. This focused care is critical as it enables health providers to identify and manage life-threatening complications. Without proper care, many women die from preventable causes such as high blood pressure, obstructed labour and severe bleeding that occurs after birth.The equipment provided to Mogotio Sub-County Hospital includes a portable ultrasound scanner, which clinicians use to monitor pregnancy. Scans enable health care providers to detect problems early so that they can be managed. Health care providers can now also detect multiple pregnancies (for instance twins) so that the mother can receive appropriate care. Other equipment includes fetal dopplers (used to monitor fetal heartbeat), hemocue machines for hematology tests, room warmers and newborn resuscitaires (help babies to breath) and ambubags.
Besides the work to strengthen health systems and improve service delivery in health facilities, Afya Uzazi collaborates with Baringo County in health promotion at the community level. Interventions include training and repositioning of traditional birth attendants (TBA) to become birth companions who escort women to give birth in health facilities and ensure the pregnant women and their newborns receive essential services at the facility and are escorted back home after delivery. Between June 2017 when the traditional birth attendants were trained to become birth companions, they have referred over 1,000 mothers to health facilities and escorted over 200 to deliver under the care of skilled health workers. Afya Uzazi supports 189 facilities in six sub-counties, four sub-counties in Baringo County and two in Nakuru County. Afya Uzazi Program Chief of Party Dr Boniface Maket, said that the equipment was part of support from USAID through the project to build the capacity of the county to sustain quality services in health facilities.
“Our partnership has seen a tremendous increase in the number of men, women and children receiving quality health services across the four sub-counties that we support,” said Dr Maket.Since the inception of the partnership of Afya Uzazi and the counties in late 2016, over 15,000 women have completed at least four antenatal care visits, and more than 22,500 pregnant women have delivered under the care of skilled birth attendants.