Equipped Health Center Draws New Patients

Esteri Biira has had three children die during infancy. Two died due to lack of proper medical attention at birth. Those births were managed by a traditional birth attendant away from a health center. The third died from malaria when he was just 9 months old. Again, he was never taken to a health center for medication. This situation was common because there was no available health center and the only available one in the community was ill equipped. Esteri and other mothers have lost children in similar circumstances. Today, Esteri is expecting her 10th child.

In Kasitu Sub County of the Bundibugyo District is the Kikyo Health Center IV. This health center only had a structure. It never had medical workers, such as nurses and midwives, and never had any medicine. When a patient or expectant mother needed to be admitted, they would have to carry their own mattresses which was very inconvenient and time consuming. Due to this, people in the community were forced to walk to Bundibugyo hospital, which was over 30 km away. When one fell sick, their family would carry them on a stretcher and walk that far to save their lives. Unfortunately, some died along the way due to the distance and delayed medical attention. Most of these were mothers in labor who died due to complications.

When World Vision intervened, it started by training health workers in nutrition and family planning so that they could pass on the information to their patients on a daily basis. Besides that, World Vision also provided the hospital equipment to equip the health center. It built extra units at the health center, put up a maternity ward and equipped it with beds and mattresses. They were given mosquito nets, medications, delivery kits and drip stands. World Vision trained Village Health Teams to handle illnesses like malaria and the health center was elevated from a Health Center II to Health Center IV. The government subsequently enrolled more health workers.

“I come to this health center because there are midwives and a fully equipped maternity ward. If I had given birth to all my children from here, I would not have lost the first three,” says Esteri. Esteri had come to the health center to access antennal services.

Joseph Baruku, a nurse at the Kikyo Health Center IV, says that in a month, about 30 mothers have given birth at the health center. World Vision, in partnership with the health center, are currently developing the training of local birth attendants to share the value of mothers giving birth at a health center. The center admits mothers who are in labor and encourage them to spend as many days as necessary there, being monitored by health workers. Children also access immunization services and treatment, another new benefit of visiting the health center. This wasn’t true in the past, due to the lack of medications and medical workers. Seeing mothers come in to the health center, one by one, is a testimony to the well-run facility. The in-patient and out-patient use has increased, along with the fully functional antena-tal services offered, all courtesy of World Vision.