Residents of Mugunda Ward, Kieni West Sub- County in Nyeri County have a reason to smile after a group of well-wishers constructed the first ever maternity facility and a modern medical laboratory in the area.
The two facilities were put in place as an extension of the current Mugunda dispensary.
The dispensary has been operational but patients had to be referred to other facilities for maternal healthcare and medical tests.
The maternity, with a 10 bed capacity facility is well equipped with state of art maternity equipment which includes modern delivery beds and baby incubators among other equipment.
Previously, residents of Mugunda and environs were forced to seek maternal healthcare services from either Nyahururu or Nyeri towns.
The joyous residents said the facility has come a long way in relieving them of the burden of walking for long distances in search of maternal healthcare.
Lucy Wangari, a resident in the area said before the construction of the facility, expectant mothers faced a risk of complications and even losing their lives during labour due to delays caused by the long distance they had to endure in search of maternal services.
“This facility has been of great help. It was a real struggle for us women especially when someone wanted to deliver. It was a matter of life and death along the way as we travelled to look for somewhere one could deliver her bundle of joy,” Wangari said.
“If the mother and the child survived, in most cases you would find the child developed some serious complications and this is the reason most children here had various forms of disabilities since they didn’t receive any healthcare at birth,” Wangari added.
Wangari also said that due to the struggle they went through in search of these services, most women had opted not to get pregnant as a way of avoiding the risks involved during the search of delivery services.
“Most women had opted to never get pregnant. This led to a low turnout in nursery schools in our area because if we don’t give birth, where will children come from?” Wangari posed.
Joseph Kagiri, the patron of the project said that the decision to construct the facility was reached after noticing the health problems his community was going through.
He said that he decided to talk to some of his family members and friends who together were able to come up with the facility, something he says he is proud of.
Kagiri, a businessman based in Nairobi says that he was challenged to come up with the idea by an incident he witnessed of a woman who lost her infant due to lack of medical attention while giving birth.
“In 2016 when I visited my rural home here, I was called at midnight to rush a woman who wanted to deliver to a hospital. Unfortunately it had rained so heavily and so the roads were inaccessible. Before I could even reach out to her, she had already given birth but unfortunately she lost the child since she had no medical attention,” Kagiri said.
“This touched my heart and from then the idea of setting up a maternity facility in our area came to my mind. I am glad that with the help of my family and friends we were able to come up with this facility which I know will be of great help to the residents,” Kagiri added.
The facility which is now under the county government has already begun its operations though according to the nurse in charge, Nancy Munai, it requires more nurses for efficient service delivery.
“The facility is of great help to the community but we still have a challenge of enough personnel. There are only three nurses here. I am requesting the county government to give us more nurses and a laboratory technician so that we can continue serving our patients,” Munai said.