Lamu County Government has launched a community sensitization program on maternity and newborn healthcare across the county in order to prevent COVID-19-related maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.
Pregnant women are encouraged to start antenatal clinic visits early and present themselves early at health institutions if they go into labor under the Department of Health’s initiative.
It has begun community advocacy across the county, and home visits by community health volunteers will begin soon.
The initiative is based on data by the Department of Health showing that pregnant mothers were afraid of contracting COVID-19 if they went to a hospital for maternal and perinatal care.
CECM Health Dr Anne Gathoni, speaking at the county headquarters in Mokowe, highlighted that the initiative’s purpose is to minimize baby and maternal mortality through involving families, communities, and decision-makers.
“We know that the overall message to the public is to avoid going to hospital unless absolutely necessary in order to avoid contracting Covid-19. However, pregnant women should begin seeking antenatal care as soon as they know they are expecting,” Dr. Gathoni stated. Antenatal care is vital for detecting risk factors such as past obstetric history, repeated fetal status assessments, as well as basic health care education and management.
“According to the data, seven perinatal deaths and 5 neonatal deaths were recorded at Mpeketoni Sub-County Hospital in September, compared to an average of two to three newborn deaths in the previous months. This is attributed to expectant patients delaying access to healthcare institutions for basic services following the fourth wave of the pandemic.
Dr. Gathoni also stated that the County Government plans to open an operating theater at Witu Health Centre to relieve pressure on the Mpeketoni Sub-County Hospital. Evidence from across Kenya indicates that during the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital services were either stretched to their full capacity or became overwhelmed, exacerbating maternal healthcare issues.
By improving care quality and expanding the availability of high-quality health services for mothers and newborns, Lamu County has made recent success in improving neonatal survival and promoting health and welfare of mothers and newborns.
The County has purchased a new ambulance dedicated to maternal healthcare, completed an MCH block with a mother/child clinic, and established a telemedicine consultation unit with Gertrudes Hospital for children in need of specialized treatment. It also bought a new lab analyzer and restocked a quarterly supply of vital drugs and medical supplies.
Pregnant mothers are also encouraged to get vaccinated against Covid 19. The vaccine is safe for use during pregnancy, and helps improve mother/baby outcomes.
Story by: Athman Omar
For more information contact:
Lamu County Government Communications Office at firstname.lastname@example.org