Poor roads deny mothers healthcare services in West Pokot

Locals carry a pregnant woman from Salawa to Endugh Hospital using the improvised stretcher, unfortunately, the woman lost the baby. October 31, 2021. [Irissheel Shanzu, Standard]

Expectant mothers cannot access pre-natal and post-natal clinics in some parts of West Pokot due to the poor state of roads.

Residents of Kalawa in Endugh ward have decried lack of basic health care due to impassible roads that prompt them to trek for long distances in search of essential services.

The challenge has exposed women to health risks leading to high mortality rates for both unborn babies and infants, which could be prevented.

On most occasions, locals at Endugh trek for more than 20 kilometres carrying patients on make-shift stretchers even during emergencies.

Lack of access roads has also affected infrastructural development in schools as residents are forced to use donkeys to ferry construction materials during construction work. 

This has led to the increased cost of putting up classrooms thus affecting the expansion of learning institutions to accommodate the growing number of students in the area.

The residents on Saturday staged protests over alleged neglect by the county government.

The protests were triggered by the loss of a child when the residents were trying to rush a mother to the hospital on a make-shift stretcher. 

On arrival at Endugh dispensary, which is over 20 km away, the baby passed on but the mother's life was saved.

The residents indicated that since the beginning of the year, they have lost over 20 infants during childbirth.

Murwas Riteluk, a resident said the area had never had a road since independence and asked the leaders to make the construction of access roads a priority to save lives.

Michael Lochupa said they do not have a hospital or a road to link them to the nearby hospital which is 50 km away.

"The donkeys have even died because they get exhausted on the way, we will continue using donkeys until when?" he lamented.

“We had to carry the pregnant woman from Salawa to Chepolet. We got a good Samaritan who helped us with her vehicle. The woman arrived at Ortum mission hospital when the baby had already died. It was too painful," he said.

Endugh Ward MCA Evanson Lomaduny said a landslide destroyed the main road in 2019 and it's yet to be repaired.

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