First Lady Margaret Kenyatta today commissioned the specialized Mother-Baby Unit at the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital, marking a major milestone in the journey towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country.
The First Lady said the new 250 bed capacity facility, named after her, takes the country a step closer to achieving UHC which aims at providing access and quality health services to all Kenyans. UHC is one of the four pillars of the Government’s Big 4 development agenda that encompasses manufacturing, affordable housing, and food security and nutrition.
The Shs 550 million health facility is named after the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta in recognition of her commitment and dedication to improve the welfare of mothers and children, specifically the reduction of maternal and neonatal deaths. The Margaret Kenyatta Mother-Baby Wing, is an impressive, state of the art health facility within the Nakuru Level-5 hospital that sits on 75 acres of land.
Speaking after opening the new unit, the First Lady said she was not only honoured and humbled, but accepted the naming of the unit after her with great humility. “It is a first of its kind in this region, and I thank the County Government of Nakuru for their commitment to contribute towards the Government’s agenda of universal health coverage for all,” the First Lady said.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta made an extensive guided tour of the new facility visiting labour, postnatal and new born units where she interacted with mothers bonding with their babies under the Kangaroo motherhood concept. “As I toured the hospital, it was evident that a lot of thought, resources and professional consultation has guided in the planning of this health facility,” she said in appreciation.
The First Lady said the hospital will enhance health services in the vast Central Rift region by providing a wide range of services from maternity, to pediatric and gynaecological conditions, to diagnostic for cancer and related oncology services. She noted that, as the largest regional referral mother and child hospital, the new facility is a big reprieve to thousands of women and children adding that there is still more to be done to expand access to health services, and promoting the utilization of antenatal care, deliveries by skilled attendants and post-natal care for communities living in remote and marginalized areas.
The First Lady said heavy investment and commitment are still needed to improve health services across the country which calls for increased budgetary allocation and partner support. While encouraging the Nakuru County Government to continue with its determination and plans for a major infrastructural upgrading program for the Nakuru Level 5 Hospital, the First Lady called for the enrolment and recruitment of more nurses to address staffing issues in our health facilities.
“I applaud the County’s plans to deliver comprehensive healthcare services through the upgrade, so that it too can better serve as the largest public health facility in the region,” said the First Lady. The First Lady reaffirmed her personal commitment towards better health care for mothers and children stating that she will continue striving for zero maternal and zero child mortality, a cause she rallied all Kenyans to respond to. Facilities at the new facility include four theatres, new born and Intensive Care Units, Gynaecology, Kangaroo Mother Care and Growers Units.
The facility will go a long way in reversing the worrying trend of high maternal and neonatal mortality in Nakuru which stands at 374 per 100,000 live births as compared to the 362/100,000 live births nationally. The First Lady was hosted at the new facility by Nakuru Governor, Lee Kinyanjui, County Executive Committee Member for Health Dr. Zakayo Kariuki, and area Member of Parliament Samuel Arama among other local leaders.