Women in Lamu will now have access to skilled delivery services following the official opening of a Maternal Health Shelter at the Witu Health Centre.
The construction and equipment of the centre was funded by the Safaricom Foundation under their Maternal and Newborn Health Programme which was launched in Lamu last year.
Under the programme the foundation has set aside KES 132 million for three years to promote Maternal, Newborn and Child Health services.
The shelter constructed at a cost of Kshs.6.8million, will accommodate up to 12 mothers at any one time.
“The women who seek ante-natal health services at least 10 days before their expected due date will be sheltered at this facility to reduce the chances of them seeking the services of traditional birth attendants,” said Joe Ogutu, Chairman Safaricom Foundation
The shelter is expected to reduce Maternal and Neonatal deaths in the County. The Kenya Demographic Health Survey shows that Lamu is among the 15 counties that account for 99 percent of all maternal deaths nationally with 676 women dying for every 100,000 children born alive.
“Some expectant women travel for more than four hours on a motorbike to reach Witu Health Centre and this poses a great risk to the mother and unborn child. This also explains why some of them prefer to seek the services of Traditional Birth Attendants,” said Mr Ogutu
The County Government of Lamu has committed to offer human resources and will also manage the shelter.