The Government of Austria in collaboration with National and West Pokot county government has upgraded maternity department at Kapenguria County Referral Hospital at a cost of Sh.117 million.
Among the improvements, include installation of modern medical equipment to the new born and maternal units, which includes seven incubators, defibrillator, respirator, infusion pumps, resuscitators, seven baby cots and 42 patient beds for maternity and side lockers.
Besides purchase of equipment, capacity building has been conducted for various staff where 20 health care workers received specialized training on the use of the equipment.
Speaking on Tuesday during the official commissioning of the New born unit, the Director of Medical Services, Dr. Norbert Abuya said the equipment will help reduce maternal deaths at the county referral hospital.
Abuya pointed out that most deaths of new borns occur one week after birth and added the equipment will help in reducing the case since they have also trained medical staff on how to handle the new born unit.
“We have trained one doctor and twenty nurses to help us in managing the equipment and we are optimistic that most children in the county born preterm will be able to survive,” he said.
He said the incubators will help reduce congestion and transfer of diseases from one child to another.
“We had less incubators and new born babies used to share and this was risky since could result in transfer of diseases from one child to another,” he said.
He noted that the new born unit takes care of infants who are even born with under one kilogram weight hence encouraged mothers who have maternal complications to visit the hospital so as to save lives.
“The new born unit will increase survival of preterm babies and enhance service delivery in maternal care,” he said
The area Governor, John Lonyangapuo lauded the Austrian government for choosing West Pokot county to be among the three counties to have benefitted, citing statistics showing that 56% of women from the county still give birth at home.
“At Kapenguria Referral Hospital almost 600 children are born every month. I encourage mothers to deliver at the hospital,” he said.
Lonyangapuo warned politicians and local leaders against politicizing the health sector in the County to allow improvement in health services.
This comes after leaders and residents in the County raised concern over deteriorating health services and increased unexplained deaths at the main referral hospital in the County.
“Politicians should cease from spreading propaganda concerning the hospital instead they should come on board and help upgrade our health facilities. The deaths that occurred were not a result of negligence,” said Lonyangapuo.
He called on residents to feel free to seek for services in the hospital and not to worry about the health situation adding that services will be improved.
The Kapenguria Health Service Board Chairman, Dr. Philip Parklea asked patients to have faith in the hospital and stop introducing politics in health issues in the county.
Parklea said the county is committed to improve services at the county hospital to help reduce referrals and residents should appreciate services offered.
He said they are working with county government to upscale supply of drugs so that when outbreaks of various diseases occur they have enough drugs to handle.
Chepareria and Kabichbich Health facilities have been earmarked to benefit from a similar project, next financial year, which will entail establishment of newborn units and upgrading of maternity wings.
By John Saina