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County government opens maternity unit to decongest County largest referral hospital

Nyeri County Department of Health Services has opened a Sh 80 million Mother and Child Department which will decongest the county’s largest referral hospital, the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital.

County Director of Health Services Dr Nelson Muriu said the 35 bed-capacity ward which is housed at the Nyeri Town Health Centre will ease access to health services for mothers and expectant women seeking such services from public facilities.

Muriu who was speaking Monday during the Official opening of the Department said due to the limited bed capacity at the county’s largest referral hospital, expectant women are often referred to private facilities to access maternity services.

Muriu said currently, Nyeri PGH has a bed occupancy of between 150 per cent and 175 per cent but with the commissioning of the department, they expect to bring down the numbers significantly.

“The vision is to ensure that this facility becomes the mother and child centre for the county; the entire maternity wing for the PGH will be moved here once construction of the two remaining floors is complete,” said Muriu.

The facility was constructed with financing from the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP). The wing hosts antenatal and postnatal wards, Maternal and Child Health clinic, laboratory, consultation rooms, specialized clinics, delivery room, a new-born unit, Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD), nurse stations, offices, kitchen, and laundry.

The department will operate on a 24-hour basis and it will serve over 30,000 people drawn from Majengo slums, Ngangarithi, Nyeri town, Majengo, Witemere, Gangarithi and referrals from the neighbouring sub-counties.

Speaking at the same occasion, Health Services Chief Officer Adan Ibrahim said that plans were underway to elevate the Nyeri Town health centre to level IV facility. Additionally, he said that the department was in the process of deploying more staff to meet the expected influx of patients to the newly commissioned facility.

“The facility has seven clinical officers and eight nurses but as we progress, we will deploy more staff in line with our memorandum of understanding with JOICFP. For sustainability, we are also pushing for the facility to be elevated to a level VI and we will be able to collect money on its own and fund its operations,” said Adan.

On his part, Nyeri Deputy Governor Mr. Warui Kinaniri reiterated the county government’s commitment to achieving the county’s vision of ending maternal and neonatal deaths and challenged the residents to utilize the facility.

The Nyeri mid-term Reproductive Health and Family Planning Strategy 2015-2025 released in May last year showed an improvement in the overall maternal health services among childbearing women in the county.

The review revealed that the percentage of pregnant women attending at least four antenatal clinics has increased 1.3 per cent to 62.3 in 2021. Similarly, the percentage of deliveries conducted by skilled attendance in the county had also increased from 88 per cent in 2015 to 94.8 in 2021.

According to the report, the county maternal mortality stood at 67 per 100,000 births. The report further showed that the overall number of maternal deaths occurring in health facilities had also reduced by half over the five years of review. This is in addition to a reduction in maternal mortality ratio from 110 in 2015 to 39.8 in 2021.

The DG was accompanied by Deputy Head of Mission Japan Embassy in Kenya, Yasuhisa Gitagawa and Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning Chairperson, Mayumi Katsube during the ceremony.

By Wangari Mwangi and Leah Omeri

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