Promoting skilled birth deliveries through maternity open days

The University of Nairobi USAID Fahari ya Jamii project in partnership with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services held a maternity open day on July 7, 2022, for the residents of the Ruaraka Sub-County. Many expectant women and the NMS Deputy Director of Health, Dr. Carol Ngunu, graced the festive celebration held at the Baba Dogo health center where they were also set to launch the new maternity wing.

Baba Dogo HC is one of the facilities supported by USAID Fahari ya Jamii to increase access and demand for quality family planning, Reproductive Maternal New-born Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH).

Maternity open days aim to break down barriers between service providers and community members by shedding light on the processes involved during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postnatal period. With the help of this initiative, expectant mothers and their loved ones can meet with medical staff, tour the maternity ward to dispel myths about giving birth and allay concerns they may have about giving birth in a hospital setting.

Women's decisions to seek care at a health facility during childbirth are severely impacted by fears of disrespect and abuse, as well as misunderstandings about the necessary procedures. Maternity open days facilitates pregnant women's understanding of the maternity care process by bringing together them, their families, and the providers who care for them.

The ceremony also featured remarks by Dr. Robert Kariuki, the medical officer of health Ruaraka Sub-County, who recounted the hospital's journey to successful maternal care services. The annual number of births increased from 33 in 2017 to 356 in 2021. The new maternity wing targets at least 480 births within the coming year. He also advocated for pregnant women to start receiving antenatal care at the hospital from the moment they conceive to ensure their own safety and that of their unborn babies.

Prior to the opening of the new maternity wing, the NMS Deputy Director of Medical Services, Dr. Ngunu, introduced and praised the excellent work of the highly trained clinical staff, which included a reproductive health clinician, 17 registered nurses, of which 13 were specifically for the maternity, and 4 laboratory technicians.

Since the inception of labour and delivery services in 2017, the facility has received new Labour and delivery equipment, clients receiving both ANC and delivery services have also increased. The new ultra -modern maternity wing will improve maternal and child health outcomes for this community.   

Benerdette Mbula, the facility incharge, lauded the HCWs efforts, stating that the increase in the number of deliveries was directly attributed their exceptional and courteous services. She encouraged mothers to visit Baba Dogo, where all services are provided at no cost." "I urge you all to take advantage of our services. We have a medical officer, 4 clinical officers, seventeen nurses, and a nutritionist to care for you, and we also offer linda mama services. She implored the mothers’’.

As the day's concluding activity, women were given a guided tour of the new maternity wing. The maternity in charge, nursing officer Lucy Wacaka, also mentioned that all mothers will also receive free ultrasound scanning services. This was relief for clients as they need to travel some distance to access this specialized service or receive services at a fee within the private sector.