Residents urge Trans Nzoia county to expand maternity centre

Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Chepchoina residents want the Trans Nzoia county government to expand a maternity wing at Nabeki dispensary to better serve the growing number of expectant mothers.

Under-staffing at the facility in Cherubai, Endebbess sub-county, has resulted in an overwhelming workload as a surge of patients seek health services.

According to Dr Gilbert Bwika, a Community Health Volunteer (CHV) at Nabeki, the facility records 15 to 25 deliveries per month on average, but it lacks adequate facilities to effectively provide maternal services.

He said the dispensary, which serves an average of 1,000 patients per month, has only one Clinical Officer and two nurses, adding that they are frequently overwhelmed by the volume of patients seeking health services.

"We have a challenge in workload due to under-staffing and also lack adequate medical supplies. "This is the only dispensary that provides maternal services, and 13 women have given birth at this facility this month alone," said Bwika.
As a result, he urged the county government to establish a maternity wing at the facility to ensure expectant mothers' privacy while also providing adequate space and necessary facilities.

Grace Wanyama, another CHV, said the space set aside for maternal services was too small and congested, preventing effective service delivery to expectant mothers, and she advocated for expansion.

"Most women seeking maternal services come from distant villages, and this is the only place where they can deliver their babies," Wanyama said, emphasising the need for a maternal wing.

Pastor George Mukhwana echoed these sentiments, saying it was difficult for patients seeking health services to commute to Chepchoina to the nearest health centre, especially when it rained.

He said the community was willing to provide land for the expansion, citing the fact that they purchased land through member contributions, and challenged the area MCA to ensure that funds are set aside for expansion in the next budgeting process.

Chepchoina MCA Peter Chakali said he would push for the facility to be upgraded into a health centre with more staff and facilities, adding that the nearest standard health facility was more than 6km away at Chepchoina.

"We will petition the ADC to provide land or to exercise its Corporate Social Responsibility so that we can build staff houses and a maternity wing," said Chakali, who also promised to earmark some funds through ward specific funds.

He said the facility requires at least three more nurses who should live within the facility's precincts so that they can be available in times of emergency, particularly at night when most services are closed for the day.

Health County Executive Dr Pepela Wanjala and Chief Officer Dr Emmanuel Wanjala reaffirmed their commitments to see the agenda through.

Dr Pepela said the county administration is working around the clock to improve health services throughout the county and that all health-related issues raised would be taken into account.