H.E Governor Ukur Yatani said “for most mothers of this County, it’s always a painful choice of bringing forth a new life at the risk of losing hers”. Speaking today at the launch of the mobile clinic at the BEYOND ZERO CAMPAIGN in Marsabit County, Amb. Yatani said some of the key contributing factors leading to the grim picture of the poor maternal health and antenatal care in the vast county are “high levels of illiteracy and social cultural practices, the nomadic lifestyle and vast distances that present challenges in the access to health care services.” He was also quick to point out that Support for healthcare from donors have been minimal in the past, limiting access to the much needed resources from non state partners.
While addressing the large turnout of both high level dignitaries including the first lady Her Excellency Margret Kenyatta, who was the chief guest, health partners, key stakeholders, county leaders, other Governors spouses and the people of Marsabit. He said that at the onset of devolution his government inherited a healthcare that was not only grossly under resourced in human and financial resources but also with a ran down infrastructure, a near non-existent referral outreach services.
Governor Yatani stressed his government’s commitment to the county’s health sector development “particularly on the substantial allocation of over 30% of the county annual budget which has led to; Providing employment for over 200 health personnel, operationalization of over 82 health facilities with uninterrupted supply of drugs, Upgraded two health centers, construction of eight new heath centers, 3 laboratories,11 incinerators and 15 units of staff houses as well as installation of 2 x-ray machines within a one year period. We have also procured over 8 new ambulances which has improved emergency care and referral services, we have also constructed and equipped over 16 new maternity facilities which coupled with the presidential directive for free maternal services have increased demand for health care services including skilled deliveries by over 20% as compared to previous years.”
Amb. Yatani highlighted his unwavering commitment to the health sector future plans “of drawing up of an elaborate health care plan, developing an all inclusive community health strategy, improve on referral system by procuring additional 5 more ambulances in the coming months, develop infrastructural facilities including additional 10 new maternity in the next 3 months, we also intend to employ additional health care staff to continuously address shortages as well as build capacities of the existing staff through trainings.”
Her Excellency, the First Lady repeated her clarion call of fighting maternal deaths and bringing child mortality rates to zero in the country in line with the MDGs by 2015. She said “childbirth in Kenya should be a joyous experience for women; it’s unacceptable for mothers to die while giving life”. She also said that Healthcare is usually not as mobile as people’s lifestyle therefore the flexibility of this mobile clinic is very critical in taking services closer to the people”
The senator Eng. Harugura commended the beyond Zero campaign saying that it will be of tremendous impact promising that the County Government of Marsabit will provide this initiative with the necessary support to ensure a healthy county, with healthy people thus speed the realizing of the vision of attaining a middle income status in Kenya.
Hon. Nasra, the women representative for Marsabit county mentioned the need for a proper attention in the health sector of Marsabit which is a vast area and also said that estimated infant mortality of 47 out of every 1000 child births and 70 out of 1000 for the under 5 children.
The event was also graced by the Governor’s spouses from seven different county governments who stood with the county in show of solidarity.
H.E Amb. Yatani and Mrs. Gumato Ukur Yatani and all the county leaders expressed their sincere appreciation to both the First lady, Kenya Pipeline Company and all other stakeholders for sponsoring the mobile clinic. Commissioner Gumato expressed her gratitude to the First Lady for heeding the request to prioritize Marsabit County for the Mobile Clinic. She also promised the First Lady that the mobile clinic will start operation as soon as tomorrow and mentioned that there is already a 4 month plan on the operation of the mobile clinic.
Marsabit County is the 9th county to benefit from the Beyond Zero Campaign launched by her Excellency early this year. The campaign has been well received and her efforts have been lauded and she has recently been awarded the United Nation’s Person of the year.