Measures taken by the Kirinyaga County Government have seen maternal and child mortality rates in the county reduce from 22 per cent in 2013 to 8 per cent in 2023.

This is according to statistics released by the county’s Medical Services, Public Health and Sanitation, signifying efforts by Kirinyaga County to reduce deaths of infants and mothers.

Governor Anne Waiguru’s government has been lauded for expanding, improving and equipping health facilities, establishing a New Born Unit (NBU) and training health workers.

Medical workers have also praised Governor Waiguru for significantly improving medical services at the Kerugoya County Referral Hospital’s NBU improving healthcare provision.

George Karoki, Kirinyaga CEC for Health, noted that the measures sought to tame neonatal deaths by ensuring all expectant mothers get antenatal care and safely deliver in hospital.

Karoki also revealed that currently 80 per cent of all expectant mothers in Kirinyaga County attend at least four antenatal clinics towards their expected due dates.

“The NBU at the hospital can only be compared to one in the high-end private hospitals and is the best in the region,” stated Karoki.

The NBU at Kerugoya has CPAP machines, Phototherapy machines, fluid pumps, light meters, oxygen splitters, resuscitating machines, radiant warmers, oxygen concentrators, sanction and incubators.

The ultra-modern equipment installed at the facility support pre-term babies and those born with other medical conditions until they are fit to survive on their own on discharge.

Among babies admitted are those born prematurely, with low birth weight, at term but have conditions such as jaundice or infections and those recovering from complex surgery.

Data also shows cases of mothers dying while giving birth have reduced to an average of 60 deaths per 100,000 mothers, against the national rate of 414 deaths in every 100,000 cases.

Waiguru has called for the continued optimization of community health programmes to connect expectant mothers with available healthcare and social support systems

“To achieve this, the county government has deployed 1,205 Community Health Promoters who are fully equipped with knowledge and medical kits to offer basic services to people in the villages,” said Waiguru.

The Council of Governors Chairperson added: “They maintain a register of expectant mothers within their allocated households with the aim of checking on them to ensure they are doing well and that they attend their antenatal clinics accordingly.”