Close to 90, 000 women of reproductive age and children under five years are set to benefit from quality maternal health services in Homabay County following the launch of Uzazi Salama project.
The Ksh150 million project is a partnership between M-PESA Foundation, PharmAccess Africa, AMREF Health Africa, Action Aid, Pathfinder international and Homabay County Government. It seeks to strengthen the county’s health systems to support the delivery of quality reproductive, maternal, new-born, child and adolescent healthcare.
“Every mother and newborn child deserve an equal chance of survival during the childbirth process. We believe that through Uzazi Salama, we will increase demand for hospital-based deliveries and greatly improve the quality of life for mothers and their babies as we have witnessed in Samburu County,” said Les Baille, Executive Director, M-PESA Foundation.
Homabay is one of 15 counties in Kenya with poor reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health indicators. These are attributed to poor access and/or low-quality health services, social-economic and cultural behaviours and unavailability of medical equipment to support optimal maternal health. Maternal deaths in the county stand at 583 per 100,000 live births and 119 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Uzazi Salama, launched at the Ndhiwa Sub-County Hospital has also been tried and tested in Samburu County since 2015.
Speaking during the launch, Homabay Governor H.E. Hon Cyprian Awiti said the county is battling teenage pregnancies, an issue that has been flagged as a risk especially during childbirth because biologically, their bodies are not ready to welcome a child. He added that he looks forward to Homabay being a success story, like Samburu County.
According to Dr. George Kimathi, Director, Institute of Capacity Development, Amref Health Africa, some of the notable success of Uzazi Salama in Samburu County has been a 22 percent increase in health facility deliveries; nine percent increase in immunization and six percent increase in the first Antenatal clinic visit.
“These can be attributed to increased community education, capacity strengthening of health workers, as well as upgrading of health facilities to provide quality Maternal and Neonatal Health services. Additionally, over 500 community health workers have been trained on safe delivery methods and over 200,000 residents benefitting from the project,” said Dr. Kimathi.