Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru has taken a significant step towards advancing maternal and child healthcare in the region with the opening of a 21-bed capacity maternity ward at South Ngariama Health Center in Mwea Constituency.

The launch of this facility precedes the rollout of the M-Mama emergency referral system, aimed at providing swift transportation services to pregnant women and newborns facing complications, ensuring their access to appropriate healthcare facilities.

The Governor expressed her commitment to improving healthcare services in the county, stating that the enrollment of women of childbearing age into the M-Mama program marks a substantial stride towards achieving the Universal Health Coverage goals for Kirinyaga.

She emphasized that the maternity ward's establishment brings much-needed relief to mothers residing in the remote Murinduko Ward, who previously had to endure long journeys in search of maternity services.

Governor Waiguru underscored the importance of accessible and affordable maternal and neonatal services, noting that they are instrumental in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality.

"The 21-bed capacity will particularly be of great benefit to around 530 women of child-bearing age from the area who will receive skilled delivery, antenatal, postnatal as well as Mother and Child Health services. They will also be accorded timely and appropriate referral services when the need arises," Waiguru stated.

To further enhance the delivery of maternal and child healthcare services, the County Government has introduced the M-Mama program.

This initiative allows expectant mothers to seek free transportation services to hospitals for emergency services through an emergency hotline number.

The South Ngariama Health Center serves a population of approximately 7,000 people from Morgan, Ikulungu, Itangi, Kadawa, Miatuini, Makuti, and Kiumbu villages.

The inauguration of the maternity ward marks the 10th health sector project initiated by Governor Waiguru in the last eighteen months.

These projects have significantly increased access to quality healthcare services for thousands of Kirinyaga residents.

Governor Waiguru emphasized the comprehensive nature of the County Government's plan to implement Universal Health Coverage, including the enhancement of primary healthcare.

In addition to infrastructure development, her administration is empowering approximately 1,000 Community Health Promoters (CHPs) through training.

Following their training, these individuals will be issued with basic medical kits and enlisted for a monthly stipend, facilitating their roles in reducing the disease burden and educating Kirinyaga residents on managing lifestyle diseases prevalent in the county.

Governor Waiguru further revealed that President William Ruto is set to officially launch the Universal Health Coverage program later this month, highlighting the unanimous support from all 47 counties for this essential healthcare initiative.