First Lady: “Kangaroo concept” critical to survival of premature babies


By PSCU/Christine Muchira

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First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has commended the Busia County Government for adopting the “Kangaroo concept” that greatly helps to save the lives of premature babies.

The concept entails skin to skin contact where pre-term infants are placed on their mother’s warm bosom to avoid separating the mother and the premature baby.

Kangaroo care is a widely practiced technique for pre-term infants and may be restricted between a few hours to many hours depending on the medical stability of the infant.

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The Kangaroo care concept, named for the similarity to how certain marsupials (especially the Kangaroo) carry their young, was initially developed to care for preterm infants in areas where incubators are either unavailable or unreliable.

Speaking when she toured Busia County Teaching and Referral Hospital, the First Lady who had first-hand experience of seeing premature children strapped on their mother’s bosoms, said-“Kangaroo concept is very important to the survival of a child.”

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“These children will grow up to maturity,” she told mothers of the premature babies whose weight ranged from 1.5 Kg to 1.7Kg.

At the hospital, the First Lady also handed packs of pampers to mothers of new born babies and also assorted food items such as bread to children admitted at the hospital.

The First Lady was conducted on a guided tour of the hospital by its Medical Superintendent, Dr. Janerose Ambuchi.

Speaking during the handing over ceremony of the 42nd fully kitted Beyond Zero Mobile Clinic to Busia County, the First Lady said initiatives such as free maternal health policy launched by the national Government have increased access to critical health services in the whole country.

“The right to quality and affordable healthcare is something we take for granted, and yet across this country, there are still mothers and children, and the general larger population who continue to struggle to access healthcare facilities,” said Mrs. Kenyatta.

The mobile clinic has been donated by Shinnyo-en, a religious organization from Tokyo Japan.

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She urged Kenyans to collectively intensify their efforts to contain the transmission rates of HIV from mother to child.

“Many mothers still don’t give birth in clinics; many children are not receiving the basic vaccinations they need, and many are dying under the age of 5 from diseases that can easily be treated,” said the First Lady.

She further said much more needs to be done to improve awareness on HIV and AID’s prevention especially amongst the youth.

‘Stand up – Speak up’

The First Lady said although Busia County has made incredible progress in this regard, there is need to scale up on the provision of services within the county particularly along the borders where women and girls remain vulnerable.

She thanked the Busia County Governor’s spouse Judy Ojamoomg for supporting the Beyond Zero initiative and also commended her for championing the course of girls through the ‘Stand up – Speak up’ for girls campaign.

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“Your support has made an impact in helping girls to have a voice against rape and sexual harassment” affirmed First Lady.

Since the launch of free maternal health service by the national Government, Busia County Teaching and Referral Hospital has seen a drop in maternal mortality.

Last year the hospital had only ten maternal deaths with 3595 live births.

Governor Sospter Ojaamong commended the First Lady for her efforts to alleviate the suffering of the weak in society.

“You have proved the skeptics wrong. When you started running for this course most people were doubtful as to whether you will make it. Now you are almost through,” said the Governor.

Acting Director of Medical Service Dr. Jackson Kioko said Busia County has made major progress in the health sector with over 66% of women attending skilled birth and 76% children fully immunized.

Other speakers included MP’s Geoffrey Odanga, Mary Amase and Florence Mutua among others.

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