Kilifi County Government in partnership with Safaricom Foundation on Wednesday launched a modern New Born Unit at the Kilifi County Referral Hospital to provide quality maternal healthcare services.
The 60-bed capacity facility with modern equipment is anticipated to restore proficient care for the new born and reduce neonatal problems as Kilifi races towards a reduced infant and maternal mortality rates.
Speaking after commissioning the NBU yesterday, Kilifi County Governor Amason Jefwa Kingi revealed that the facility cost them over Sh53 million with Safaricom Foundation contributing Sh15 million as his office devoted at least Sh38 million.
According to Kingi, the New Born Unit has qualified personnel and is an improvement of the past facility that had only six beds at the service of a populated Kilifi.
He said that the past situation of delivery at the hospital was distressing due to lack of equipment which contributed to the high mortality rates that were otherwise preventable.
“Initially, before the construction of this building, many mothers who used to come here for delivery used to deliver on the floor because there were only six beds in this facility. It has been saddening to lose our mothers’ or infants’ lives from complications that couldn’t be managed due to lack of proper equipment,” Kingi said.
The Governor took pride in the new facility that he noted would place the hospital among the best of its kind in the country stating that mothers deserved to bring in new lives in fully equipped hospitals with clean environments contrary to giving birth on the floor.
“From today, no mother delivering in this hospital will leave their babies lying in bed while they sleep on the floor as it has been the norm. We have not only ensured that the beds are enough for both the mothers and their new born, but also made a homely environment for the mothers who are going out of their ways to bring in new lives into the world,” he said.
He urged the residents to utilize the facility so that his office in collaboration with the development partners could expand it as they embarked on eradicating maternal and infant mortality rates.
“This is a modern facility with modern equipment that has cost us millions of shillings thus will be of no benefit if it won’t be utilized. It will be so heartbreaking to lose a mother’s or an infant’s life just because she was delivering at home. As a government, we have done our part and will be glad if this facility is put into maximum use so that we can see the need of its expansion,” said Governor Kingi.
Safaricom Trustees Petra Migisi and Rita Okuthe who also led the commissioning of the new facility encouraged the residents to embrace the new development in order to end avoidable maternal and infant deaths.
“Today we have seen the end result of our hard labour and so what I would urge is to encourage our mothers to give birth in the hospital in order to be attended to in case of any emergency or complications. The equipment in this newly launched facility is state-of-the art, the kind of which you find in the best private hospitals in the world, not just in Kenya,” Okuthe said.
“It is our hope that from today, we’ll be able to see a decrease in the mortality rates for mothers and babies as much as possible because you have everything you need to make it happen,” Migisi said.
Speaking during the launch, Kilifi County health minister Karisa Dadu said having the facility in the hospital was a big milestone and a huge value addition not only to the hospital but Kilifi at large.
“This facility expands the spectrum of maternal healthcare. It is a big boost because from today we will not only handle normal babies but also babies with special condition,” Dadu said
“Before this programme, most of these were integrated with the pediatric ward. Many of the mothers with babies having special conditions that required closer attention used to be cramped up in that ward using double decker beds,” he added.
The hospital Board of Directors chairman, George Gitonga lauded the new development which he said was one proposed by the board.
“We are so thrilled at all these new developments happening in our hospital. It is all in the best interest of making the citizens lives and health better,” Gitonga said.
The Sh53 million Unit has been equipped with contemporary equipment including incubators, resuscitators, baby cots, respirator, furniture, syringe pumps, beds and lockers.
By Treeza Auma and Harison Yeri