The US Government, through USAID, this week handed over medical equipment to the Kenya Government for use in hospitals across the country to reduce deaths of mothers and babies.
The handover ceremony was held at the Lodwar Referral Hospital in Turkana County, which is one of the largest and most remote counties in Kenya. US Deputy Mission Director Tina Dooley-Jones commended the county government for their efforts to improve health services for the people of the vast and arid region, where mothers and children have to travel long distances in harsh weather conditions to get medical care.
She noted that the county had increased the number of health workers in facilities, ensured continuous and reliable supply of medicines, improved diagnostic capabilities and refurbished the Lodwar Country Referral Hospital.
“Turkana is a leader in demonstrating that devolution of the health sector can bring essential services close to the people of Kenya, no matter where they live. These kinds of improvements will surely lead to a healthier Turkana. The dedicated work that the county health team, and Turkana’s partners in civil society are doing to improve lives is truly admirable,” - Dooley-Jones.
She particularly thanked partners in APHIAplus IMARISHA Project, through which USAID works in Turkana with Amref Health Africa as chief implementer, for their support in the last five years. The project supports integrated, maternal and child health, family planning, water and sanitation, nutrition and HIV activities in eight counties – Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Wajir, Garissa. Mandera, Tana River and Isiolo.
Acting Director of Medical Services Dr Jackson Kioko, representing health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu, received the equipment on behalf of the Government. This included 290 delivery kits, 63 vacuum extractors, 82 room warmers, 131 foetoscopes, 138 paediatric ambubags and 142 newborn ambubags.
Dr Kioko thanked USAID for living up to its word to provide equipment for maternal and child health care. “This is a great step towards making ever mother and every child count,” he said.
He noted, however, that the health status of women and children cannot improve unless harmful cultural practices are also stopped. “Female Genital Mutilation, early child marriage and gender-based violence limit the full development of the potential of our women and girls to participate in development,” he said.