Residents of Faza Island in Lamu East are a happy lot after the Safaricom Foundation launched a Sh8 million new-born unit to help promote improved maternal and neo-natal health services in the region.
The neo-natal healthcare facility was named after former Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, who succumbed to cancer on July 1, 2019.
The health facility has been equipped with incubators, oxygen masks for new-born babies, a phototherapy unit, and digital equipment such as computers and digital baby scales among others.
Addressing the Public at Faza Sub-County Hospital during the opening ceremony of the new-born unit, Lamu Deputy Governor Abdulhakim Aboud lauded Safaricom Foundation for their dedicated efforts in ensuring improved healthcare for locals in Lamu.
Mr Aboud said the newly established new-born unit will greatly help to reduce the neo-natal mortality rate in Lamu and ease the challenges faced by women shortly after giving births.
“This facility serves almost the entire Lamu East region. People from Mkokoni, Kiwayu, Ndau, Kizingitini, Mwajumwali and its environs travel all the way to Faza to deliver their babies. The new-born unit is crucial since it will assist women to have their children taken good care of shortly after delivery. There’s no need for women to rush going back to their home shortly after delivery since the new-born unit will help take care of their new-borns,” said Mr Aboud.
He said the Lamu County government will continue to partner with Safaricom Foundation and other well-wishers in ensuring development of the county.
Faza Sub-County Hospital Medical Superintendent Zubeir Salim acknowledged that women in Faza Island face challenges in accessing maternal healthcare services which forces them to travel for at least three hours to hospital.
“These long journeys have been causing maternal health complications which lead to deaths of at least two children and women per month because of unavailability of skilled maternal care. We thank the Safaricom Foundation for considering Faza on matters health. The neo-natal unit opened here today will not only serve the people of Faza but also those from across Lamu County,” said Dr Salim.
Speaking at the same event, Safaricom Foundation Trustee Rita Okuthe said their partnership with the Lamu County government seeks to increase access to maternal, neonatal and child health services by training health workers, improving healthcare infrastructure and referral system.
“We want to advocate for access to maternal, neonatal and child health services, health financing to ensure communities have access to healthcare when they need it and lastly use of technology to improve efficiency,” said Ms Okuthe.
In February, Safaricom Foundation in partnership with the Lamu County government launched a maternal shelter in Witu worth Sh6.8 million.
The projects are part of the Sh132 million maternal, new-born and child healthcare programme which Safaricom Foundation said it will be implementing over a period of three years around the country.