Kakamega County launches modern maternity ward

Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa at the Lumakanda maternity ward wing in Lugari Sub-county on October 16, 2023. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The county has entered a partnership to improve the delivery wards for expectant mothers under the Tutunze Kakamega Service Delivery Redesign (SDR) strategy.

The initiative which has incorporated support from players in the health sector like Jacaranda Health has witnessed improved maternity wards at several hospitals in the county the latest being Lumakanda Level IV Hospital in Lugari Constituency.

The hospital's maternity wing now boasts an increased bed capacity by 50 per cent and improved patient privacy by 80 per cent tailored to cut maternal and neonatal mortality besides encouraging mothers to give birth in hospitals.

Delivery statistics from Kakamega County show only 37 per cent give birth in a health facility that is equipped to handle maternal emergencies as 63 per cent of women prefer giving birth at home.

The statistics indicate that the deliveries are sparsely distributed with 85 per cent of facilities conducting less than 30 deliveries in a month, and yet 99 per cent of women living in Kakamega live within an hour of advanced level four and level five facilities.

Governor Fernandes Barasa who commissioned the facility on Monday said the hospital would help to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in Kakamega.

"The strategy simply aims to give medical attention to mothers as soon as possible so they don't go through difficult times," Barasa said.

Lugari Sub-County is the second out of the three Sub-Counties in Kakamega where the programme was launched.

"Through the partnership, the county received a total of Sh223 million for phase one, 40 percent of which has come to Lugari Sub-county. The objective of this initiative is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 in every 100,000 live births," said Barasa.

The governor said 30-45 per cent of mothers who go to health facilities for delivery access do not get effective services.

"We know this situation may result in tragic consequences including death and my attention and that of our partners is to radically redesign how we offer better health services," he said.

Jacaranda Health Deputy Country Director Dr Job Makoyo said they were collaborating with selected counties to expand and equip maternity and newborn units to create spaces that promote the provision of quality care.

"We are reducing delays in receipt of care by improving urgent and emergency referral systems by working with Rescue.Co, a reputable emergency transport provider," he said.

Makoyo indicated that they were out to ensure all women were supported by sufficient and skilled health providers.

"To achieve this we are conducting hospital-based skills training on emergency and obstetric care and enhancing health financing arrangements for quality health care services and implementation of the Kakamega health fund is a milestone," said Makoyo.

County Executive Committee Member in charge of Health Services Benard Wesonga urged women in the constituency and the county to use available facilities during childbirth to reduce mortality rates.

"We are doing all it takes to ensure our facilities are expanded and we are going to replace all contractors who have dumped materials on the site and are reluctant to finish the construction of our health facilities," said Wesonga.

Mothers in Lugari are now hopeful that the facility will offer good, safe, and respectful maternal services.

"I gave birth at home during my first pregnancy because fellow women complained of sharing beds, constant power blackouts, and lack of privacy in the wards. After the county rolled out the SDR project I opted to give birth to my second child in hospital because my health and that of the child were guaranteed," said Linet Asava, a resident of Lugari.