, NAIROBI Kenya, July 8- “Once bitten twice shy…I will never allow my second wife go to traditional birth attendants after the loss of my first wife,” Peter Wafula a remorseful husband talks of his pain after he lost his pregnant wife while giving birth.
He says, “I will never forgive myself for losing a son and the mother to my five kids. I am the one who said that I had no money to take her to hospital.”
Wafula tells of a common story in Bumula constituency, Bungoma County where cases of child mortality are relatively high.
On this day when he met Capital FM News crew, he was among the people who witnessed the launch of an initiative that is meant to reduce the rate of maternal and child mortality through improvement of the available health facilities in the area.
He still recalls vividly how his wife lost her life on 25th August, 2013.
“She had visited the health centre but was not accorded the right medication now that she did not have enough money. She proposed that she go to the traditional attendants,” a visibly sad Wafula said.
“I agreed since all our five kids were healthy and other than going for checkups while pregnant, they were not born in hospitals.”
“Her visit to the village midwives was to mark her last journey here.”
Wafula who hails from Nandigwa village in Bumula constituency however is happy that the National Government has introduced free maternity healthcare.
On this day, Wafula a sugar cane cutter was even more excited when non- governmental organization Save the Children launched a Sh500 million initiative to be channelled towards reducing the area’s child mortality.
The money will be provided by the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The initiative which targets 200,000 women will be implemented in collaboration with the county government.
The project will rehabilitate 50 health centres and upgrade them so that mothers in the area can deliver safely.
“I intend to have two more kids with my new wife; this is good news to my family and the area,” he stated.
While launching the programme, Dr Margaret Makelo the wife of the area Governor said it will help reduce the number of deaths of new born babies while noting that over 70% of women in the county deliver at home.
“The newborn death rate has not changed much in the last 10-15 years and more needs to be done if we are to reverse this trend,” she pointed out.
“When a woman dies in pregnancy, she leaves behind a family whose lives are changed forever. The chances that any child who is less than five years left behind will also die increase dramatically.”
Makelo however says the initiative will improve with the national government initiative of free health maternity.
“We need to encourage our wives, our sisters, our daughters to start antenatal care as soon as they discover they are pregnant and to ensure that they go for the recommended 4 clinics,” she appealed.
The county has however only one doctor and 3 clinical officers who are based at Bungoma district hospital which
County authorities says will be increased to cater for the need of the populated County.
This adds up to the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta efforts to reduce the rate of child mortality in the country through her Beyond Zero marathon.