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Kakamega Striving to Enhance Maternal and Neonatal Healthcare Services

By Seliphar Machoni

Kakamega County has taken significant steps towards improving maternal and newborn healthcare services.

Jacaranda Health, in partnership with other organizations and the Kakamega County Government, launched a renovated and fully equipped maternity wing at Lugari Sub County, Lumakanda sub-county Hospital, under the Tutunze program.

During the inauguration of the upgraded maternity wing at Lugari Sub-County, Lumakanda Level 4 hospital, Governor Fernandes Barasa stated that this hospital is one of 205 health facilities across Kakamega County marked for renovation through the Service Delivery Redesign “SDR” strategy. It is also one of three hospitals where the Tutunze Kakamega Program was launched during its first phase.  “We launched this program in Malava earlier this year and we aim to introduce it in Butere before year-end,” said Barasa.

Governor Barasa emphasized that their primary goal was to ensure all mothers and newborns receive high-quality healthcare services, thus reducing mortality rates.

“The objective of our initiative is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030 as per SDG number 3,” he added.

Furthermore, Governor Barasa revealed that they are working with partners towards redesigning most level four and five hospitals while simultaneously improving service delivery standards.

“Currently, between thirty percent (30%) – forty-five percent (45%) of expectant mothers who visit health facilities for birth assistance approach inadequately equipped health centers, which can lead to fatal consequences if not addressed on time,” said Barasa.

Governor Barasa also highlighted how proper healthcare provision coupled with expansion of existing health facilities clearly aligns with their vision outlined in the county’s 2023-2027 CIDP plan. They intend to radically redesign how they offer medical care so that expectant mothers can have access to competent medical personnel along with appropriate equipment as soon as possible.

Dr. John Makoyo, the Deputy County Director of Jacaranda Health, has expressed that their organization is working alongside various partners and the Kakamega County Government to address gaps within the healthcare system.

“The aim is to expand and equip maternity/newborn units in order to create spaces that promote quality care provision while reducing delays in receipt of care through improved urgent and emergency referral systems,” said Makoyo.

“This endeavor involves collaborating with reputable emergency transport provider, Rescue.co, providing women and newborn care providers with healthcare education via Jacaranda’s SMS system known as PROMPTS, and ensuring all women are supported by skilled providers through hospital-based skills training on Emergency and Obstetric Care,” he explained.

Makoyo also urges women and caregivers residing in Lugari sub-county to take advantage of the enhanced facility and services provided at Lumakanda Hospital for delivery services. He states that this hospital can handle complications effectively; making it an ideal choice for mothers seeking delivery services.

A study conducted by specialists named “Tutunze Kakamega” revealed that only 37% of births in the county occur within adequately equipped facilities capable of handling maternal emergencies, despite over 99% living closer to either a level four or five facility.

Tutunze Kakamega is a program sponsored by Kakamega County with support from partners such as: Jacaranda Health, Thinkwell, Thinkplace, Rescue.co, Harvard University, and Buildx Studio (a consortium funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).

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