Nyeri builds maternity wing to decongest referral facility

Nyeri Governor Mwalimu Mutahi Kahiga. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Nyeri County is constructing maternity ward for teens and young mothers to decongest its referral facility.

In a ceremony to kick off the setting up the 35-bed capacity facility at the Nyeri Town Health Centre, Governor Mutahi Kahiga said the project will improve service delivery.

“This centre was set up to serve residents of Majengo, Ngangarithi and Nyeri town and had a capacity for 30,000 outpatients, but this number has increased to 90,000 per day,” he said.

He welcomed the county partnership with Japanese International Cooperation, which would allow funding of the project expected to cost Sh112 million and will run from March 2022 to January 2024.

“Out of the Sh112 million, approximately Sh70 million will go towards construction and equipping of the maternity,” he said.

Upon completion, the maternity wing will host a 35-bed capacity antenatal and post-natal wards, maternal and child health clinic, laboratory, consultation rooms, specialised clinics, delivery room, a new-born unit, Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD), nurse stations, offices, kitchen and laundry.

Part of the funds will go towards training the healthcare workers on reproductive, maternal and child health services. During the signing ceremony in April, chief international programme manager at the Japanese agency, Etsuko Yamaguchi said the project targeted young mothers from Kiawara and Majengo slums who opt for 'risky' home deliveries.

"These young mothers risk their lives due to limited access to reproductive health services," she said. The facility will also provide ante-natal and post-natal care.

“Our main aim is to promote sexual health not only for pregnant women in their 20s and 30s but also for teenagers and adolescents. We want to prevent unintended pregnancies among young people,” said Yamaguchi. The project focused on Nyeri sub-county and Nyeri Town heath Centre, Tumai-Ini Dispensary and Nyeri GK prison dispensary.

A 2021 report by the National Council on Population and Development on the adolescent situation in Kenya recorded 379,573 teenage pregnancies. The findings also revealed that one in five Kenyan teenage girls between the ages of 10-19 years was a mother. 

Acting Health executive Robert Thuo said the county Department of Health would deploy sufficient healthcare workers for the maternity unit.