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Uasin Gishu County Receives equipment to improve neonatal Care Services

Okoa Malaika, an initiative by the Ushiriki Wema in collaboration with the Mudavadi Trust Fund has officially launched its programme at the Uasin Gishu County Hospital Fund to support pre-term babies and improve the neonatal care services offered in the county.

Okoa Malaika is an infant pre-term mitigation programme distributing neo-natal equipment like incubators and baby blankets to hospitals in Kenya to ensure the well-being of mother and child.

Ushiriki Wema Chair, Mrs Tessie Musalia, wife to Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, while gracing the occasion at the Uasin Gishu County Hospital noted that the Okoa Malaika program aligns with the government’s efforts to reduce infant mortality rates by ensuring a vibrant health sector under Universal Health Coverage.

“It is fitting that we come together in this vibrant community to embark on an initiative that uplifts and empowers both infants and women ensuring every individual has the opportunity to reach their full potential,” Mrs Musalia.

“Okoa Malaika initiative aims to distribute neo-natal equipment to hospitals in all 47 counties in Kenya; by doing so, we will ensure the well-being of mother and child,” she explained.

Mrs Musalia further noted that President William Ruto’s commitment to maternal health underscores the importance of accessible and quality healthcare services for women and children across Kenya as he recently launched the mother and child unit in Iten Referral Hospital in Elgeyo Marakwet.

“As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to recognizing the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women this year’s theme “Invest in women: Accelerate progress” with the campaign theme of inclusivity carries a powerful message that extends far beyond a single day of celebration, “she noted.

“On this day we commemorate the remarkable strides made in advancing the rights and opportunities of women across the globe yet amidst our celebrations we cannot avoid to point out the stuck reality that neo-natal mortality continues to claim the lives of countless newborns,” stressed Mrs Musalia.

She said that this affects communities where women face systematic inequalities and blindness to empowerment therefore the inclusivity will help create an environment where women can access comprehensive health care.

“We are working on getting ultrasound to all community hospitals so that women can receive the necessary support and this will contribute to the prevention and management of pre-term births,” she noted.

She explained that the government has accelerated this through the community health care promoters who play a crucial role in addressing health inequalities by bringing essential services to the people especially those in rural areas.

“We as champions, citizens, and charitable organisations have a role to play in contributing to a better society as these challenges demand collaboration and cooperation on an unprecedented scale therefore putting our strengths, resources, and perspectives together enables us to achieve far more than one entity can,” she averred.

“As we gather to distribute neonatal incubators and baby blankets to Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, and West Pokot counties we must recognize the potential we hold collectively to inspire change, inclusion and confront the stuck realities of neonatal mortality and women’s health,” she added.

She noted that the journey to motherhood is one filled with the wonder of creation, a sacred one filled with anticipation, joy, and a touch of apprehension. However, the program will help ease the apprehension so that when the baby is too eager and comes out before the due date, he/she will be in a secure place.

“Together we have the power to make a difference, rewrite the narrative, and build a world where life is vital and every voice is heard,” she said.

On her part, spouse to Uasin Gishu Governor Selina Bii noted that it is momentous day for the county and neighbouring counties as they receive state-of-the-art incubators that will be distributed to the public health centers.

“We are grateful to Madam Tessie Musalia for spearheading the Okoa Malaika initiative, a pre-term health program that is a beacon of hope to us all”, said Bii.

She noted that the Okoa Malaika initiative will significantly enhance the survival process of the children born prematurely, allowing them to strive into infancy and eventually adulthood as every baby’s life is precious and it is a collective duty to provide these children with the opportunity to grow and mature.

“On this International Women’s Day, we honour every woman present, for you are the pillars of health care, family, and community as well as the caregivers and nurses who attend to the babies in the nurseries” she noted.

She urged for continued collaboration amongst all stakeholders, government, non-governmental organizations, and health care providers to further enhance maternal and child health.

The Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China, Zhang Zhizhong further noted that this is a great program as it gives a chance to bring goodwill to the Kenyan people at the grassroot level.

“Kenya and China have a good bilateral relationship and we hope that in the future, with the help of the Mudavadi foundation we can continue with our friendly collaboration,” said Zhizhong.

The Okoa Malaika Brand Ambassador, Njoki Mambo said that as the brand ambassador, she is privileged to be part of the initiative that promises to make a tangible difference in the lives of countless families.

“The arrival of a newborn is a beautiful occasion built with hope, joy, and anticipation. However, it is also time for vulnerability particularly for mothers who give birth to pre-term babies who require specialized care and attention,” she noted.

She pointed out that in Kenya, out of every 1000 babies born, 22 of them die within the first 21 days, according to Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2022.

She extended her heartfelt appreciation to esteemed stakeholders and organizations whose unveiling commitment and collaboration have been instrumental in bringing this vision to life.

“Partnerships are the cornerstone for creating a better society. We recognize that no single entity can address the many challenges alone, it is only through collaboration, innovation, and shared resources that we can make a truly lasting impact,” said Mambo.

By Judy Too and Tuphosa Ngani

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