Women living in and around Witu in Lamu County are set to benefit from a Kshs 6.8m Maternal Health Shelter that will see them have easier access to skilled birth attendants.
The shelter which will be put up at the Witu Health Centre will serve as a waiting and observation center for women nearing delivery.
“The Shelter we are putting up will ensure that mothers who come in for antenatal care services at least 10 days to delivery, stay at the facility awaiting delivery. This will guarantee hospital delivery and in turn reduce the number of deaths caused by use of unskilled birth attendants,” said Janice Mwendameru, Trustee, Safaricom Foundation.
The shelter set to be completed by January 2019 will reduce the burden of mothers having to travel long distances to deliver at Witu Health Centre.
“Majority of mothers are failing to deliver in health facilities due to the long distances. Some ride on motor bikes for more than four hours to reach Witu Health Centre and that in itself is a risk to the life of the mother and the unborn child,” Mwendameru said.
Every month, at least 200 mothers attend Witu Health Centre for antenatal care but only an average of 15 women deliver at the facility each month.
In June this year, Safaricom Foundation launched a Kshs.44 million Maternal, Newborn and Child Health programme to be implemented over a period of three years in three counties beginning with Lamu. The Maternal Health Shelter is part of this programme.
Lamu County has one of the highest maternal deaths in the country with an estimated 676 mothers dying for every 100,000 live births. This is way above the national statistic of 362 mothers dying for every 100,000 live births.