Three years ago Vihigaâ€™s maternal mortality rate was 531 per 100,000 women but now it stands at 122/100,000 women. The number of infants who died stood at 19 per 1,000 infants but now it stands at 3.2/1000 live births. This is according to Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo who presided over the third anniversary event for Boresha Afya ya Mama na Mtoto program dubbed OttichiloCare at Bugina Health Center in Sabatia.
Speaking during the ceremony, DR. Ottichilo was overwhelmed noting that when the program was launched in November 2018 it had an enrollment of only 50 women but three years down the line it has an enrollment of 8,774 mothers. He congratulated mothers and expectant women who have embraced the program that has enabled them to access quality healthcare services in different health facilities in the Vihiga.
He assured that his government has put more plans in place to make the Boresha program more successful and make sure Vihiga registers zero maternal mortality in the next two years.
Gladys Lihanda, a Hamisi resident who is one of the beneficiaries lauded the initiative saying her journey from pregnancy to delivery was smooth owing it to OttichiloCare. The thousand shillings financial token per hospital visit from the program she says has supported her and other mothers to acquire basic needs.
Chief Officer for Health Services Dr. Mary Anyienda clarified that her department had sorted the delay in the tokens the expectant women and mothers receive usually occasioned by wrong contacts. Dr. Anyienda assured the beneficiaries that they would be receiving it promptly after every ANC visit.
Health Minister Prof. Inonda Mwanje gave his commitment to the passage of the Community Health Volunteers bill that seeks to recognize them as county workers so that they can be motivated to refer maternal cases from the villages. During the function the women also received early Christmas which consisted of Sugar, cooking oil, diapers, baby towels, masks to mention but a few.
OttichiloCareâ€™s county program coordinator Salome Sumba appreciated the support from the County that has seen the program seamless. She also noted that apart from 24 facilities offering the program at the moment she would make sure it is scaled to all facilities across the County to reduce the distance mothers travel to seek Antenatal Clinic services.
As of 2014, 1st Antenatal Clinic (ANC) attendance was at 60% while skilled delivery at 60% but with the intervention of Boresha program but by now, 1st ANC stands at 90% while skilled delivery at 70%. OttichiloCare program aims at enhancing the capacity of the vulnerable women and children to access quality ANC services and Mother Child Health (MCH) services, support mothers with an incentive/token to assist them to meet their basic needs which are given on the 1st Ante-Natal Clinic (ANC), 4th ANC visit, skilled delivery at health facilities, between 4-6 weeks post-natal care and at 18 months of childâ€™s age.
That notwithstanding the program improves the quality of care for mothers and their babies through monitoring, encouraging Male involvement in parenting, family planning and promoting skilled delivery at the health facility. In adherence to World Health Organisation (WHO), County Government of Vihiga has constructed more health facilities and equipped them to make sure nobody walks more than five kilometres to a health facility in the County.
Also present during the ceremony were, James Otari (Chief of staff), Mary Amalemba(CECM Water, Environment and Natural Resources), Caroline Wawire (UNICEF), Joy Kiruntimi (Deputy Country Director Nutrition International), MCAs Gladys Analo (Busali), Manoah Mboku ( Tambua), Venna Kaisha (Nominated), Alex Kevogo ( Sabatia Sub County Administrator and Ben Muhando ( Busali Ward Administrator).