The well-being of mothers, infants and children determines the health of the next generation and can help predict future public health challenges for families, communities and medical care systems. Moreover, healthy birth outcomes and early identification and treatment of health conditions among infants can prevent death or disability and enable children to reach their full potential.
Despite major advances in medical care, critical threats to maternal, infant, and child health exist in the Masai District of Narok. Among the most pressing challenges, are reducing the rate of pre-term births and reducing the infant death rate.
More than 80% of women in Narok District will become pregnant and give birth to one or more children. Most of these women suffer pregnancy complications ranging from depression to the need for a cesarean delivery. Although rare, the risk of death during pregnancy has also been witnessed.
Each year, approximately 12% of the infants are born pre-term and 8.2% of infants are born with low birth weight. In addition to increasing the infant’s risk of death in its first few days of life, pre-term birth and low birth weight can lead to devastating and lifelong disabilities for the child. Primary among these are visual and hearing impairments, development delays, and behavioral and emotional problems that range from mild to severe.
Scarcity of Maternal and Child Health Community Centres has also contributed at large as the biggest challenge in Narok North District. Expectant mothers are unable to receive early maternal services and end up delivering in homes under less care and poor service; this poses a big danger to both the mother and the infant.
In order to curb this challenge, the Ewang’an e Suswa Community-based Organisation is raising funds to assist in the complete establishment of the Ewang’an e Suswa Community Health Centre. The Health Centre’s goal is to make services available to all residents of Suswa in Narok North District. Emphasis is placed on ensuring services to child-bearing women, infants and children. The organisation received a donation from the Japanese Government towards the construction of the Health Centre which is currently underway but the funding is only enough to construct an out-patient facility.
In order to accomplish its goal, the Ewang’an e Suswa Community-Based Health Centre will:
- Promote the delivery of high quality, comprehensive, family-centred health services for women, infants, children and adolescents
- Monitor relevant health status indicators to identify, assess and proactively plan for current and future areas of need including proposals for regulatory change for the general community
- Promote early pre-natal care, breastfeeding, provision of nutritious food, and health education to improve pregnancy outcomes and child care
- Once fully established and equipped, the Centre would also act as a treatment centre for both out- and in-patient illnesses giving priority to Maternal Health care, Malaria and HIV/AIDs (Prevention of mother to child-PMTCT)
- The Centre will also act as a control centre providing advice on prevention and outreach interventions