By Lydia Gichuki
Safaricom Foundation on Wednesday donated Sh.9.5 Million state-of-the-art boat ambulance to Lamu county government in a bid to reduce maternal and newborn deaths attributed to lack of proper logistics.
Lamu is among 15 counties that account for more than 60 percent of maternal, newborn and child deaths in the country.
The new boat ambulance will cut the time it takes to travel from Lamu East to King Fahd by boat from three hours to just 30 minutes. The new boat brings to a total of three water ambulances serving the entire region.
Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha on Wednesday last week attributed poor logistics and infrastructure as the main contributor of high maternal deaths in the county.
Further, a lot of social and cultural barriers keep mothers in Lamu County away from health facilities.
According to Kenya Demographic Health Survey although almost 99 percent of women attend antenatal clinics only 45 percent deliver their babies at home with assistance from traditional birth attendants.
In addition, there are very few dispensaries in the county with most of them facing both human resource and crucial medical equipment shortages.
KDHS 2014 statistics, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) at the county stands at 676 for every 100,000 live births, compared to the country’s statistic of 362 maternal deaths out of every 100,000.
Additionally, newborn death rate is 45 newborns out of every 1,000 live births compared to 22 nationally while the infant mortality rate is 76 per 1,000 compared to the average of 39 in Kenya.
Further, under-five mortality rate is 106 children for every 1,000 compared to 76 deaths nationally.
The initiative aims to develop higher-level referral strategies covering the movement of patients, specimens, parameters movement and specialists across Lamu with a special focus on Lamu East sub-county which is the most disadvantaged in terms of access to the referral hospital.
Photo Credit; one_life,Pixabay