The county government of Tana River has procured modern medical equipment worth Sh15 million to be used in the maternity wings in three health facilities in the county.
Tana River County Health and Sanitation Executive Mwanajuma Hiribae said each of the three dispensaries – Wenje Dispensaries and Kipini and Bura Health Centres – would receive tools worth Sh5 million.
Speaking while receiving the gadgets from the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation Friday, Mrs. Hiribae said the equipment would greatly improve maternity services in the three health facilities, hence reducing maternity deaths and child mortality.
The items procured included delivery beds, oxygen cylinders, fetoscopes (devices used to obtain information about a foetus within the uterus), beds, blood pressure reading machines, digital refrigerators and rescuscitaire (resuscitation carts used in health facilities).
Mrs. Hiribae said the acquisition of the equipment would empower the dispensaries and greatly reduce the number of referrals to the main hospitals in the county.
“Many women have lost their pregnancies while others have died on their way to hospital due to the unavailability of such equipment in strategic health facilities, but we believe with this equipment this will come to an end,” she said.
She said the county government had started addressing issues of staff shortages in the health facilities, noting that each hospital was poised to have at least five nurses and one clinical officer to effectively handle medical cases at the grassroots.
“The county administration has also hired the services of trained elderly traditional birth attendants to assist in handling difficult cases in line with certain traditional practices.
She said traditional birth attendants (TBAs) are usually paid a token of Sh250 for every delivery case they report and bring to the health facilities to dissuade them from conducting deliveries at home which often has led to the deaths of the expectant mothers.
“This has greatly improved the number of deliveries at our health facilities, thus reduced maternal and child mortality.
She hinted that the county government would purchase at least one ambulance for every dispensary to help ferry referred patients to hospitals faster.
The move to build and equip maternity wings at dispensaries was received with joy by local midwives who attended the function in Wenje.
“We are happy that we now have a maternity. If an expectant mother developed labour pains even at 3 am, we can now rush her to the nearest facility for delivery,” said Khadija Habiba Adhan, a traditional birth attendant from Wenje.
Ms Adhan said the facility had greatly reduced maternal and child mortality rates in the area since the local maternity wing started operating.
She said after delivering, a mother is provided with basic necessities such as lessos and soap to handle their sanitary needs.
“Our joy is that we are provided with necessary facilities to stop excess bleeding before, during and after deliveries. Before this, we used to boil herbs known as ‘Sholole,’ to relieve this,” said Zeinab Shambaro, another TBA.
On her part, Ms. Guyato Dhadho appealed to the county government to avail an ambulance for the Wenje Dispensary to help transport referred patients to the county referral hospital in Hola.
The residents urged the county government to employ more health workers as well as supply drugs to health facilities.
Some of the midwives asked the county administration to increase their allowances from Sh250 to at least Sh1,500 per delivery.
By Emmanuel Masha/Maryam Dado