It was a day full of cheer as the mothers of newly born babies at Lengo clinic in Mukuru Kayaba at Nairobi South B shared their journeys to motherhood and even cracked jokes with members of the Rotary Club of Muthaiga and Toto Care Box Africa Trust.
Led by RCM President Jimia Yassin, Service Project Director Sandra Bomett and representatives of the Trust, the team presented new-born starter packs, also known as Baby Mwanzo Packs, to the new mothers. The gift pack is offered as a free incentive to every mother who attends a minimum of four antenatal clinics.
Although access to health is a basic right, a combination of factors, both social and economic continue to exclude many people from health services especially women and girls in rural areas and the urban poor. Access to antenatal care is especially a challenge for the underprivileged women, hence the need to provide incentives. One of the mothers said that she could not afford the luxury of taking a day off her casual labour, which feeds her family of six, to visit an antenatal clinic. Such a visit, she added, would deny her a Kshs 500 daily wage.
Toto Care works to promote the health and well-being of newborns in their first 28 days. In addition to the Baby Mwanzo Packs, the mother also gets free certified training on the use of the box, which contains a maternal care package with items for the mother and the new born for the most critical first 28 days.
Each pack contains nappies, cotton wool, a diarrhea kit, water guard, baby clothes, antiseptic, and handwashing soap. The items are selected due to their possible impact on reducing the four main causes of new born deaths in Kenya – malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, gastroenteritis and neonatal tetanus. The team also educated the mothers on post-natal care of both mother and baby. They also discussed issues of sexuality.
Maternal health is one of RCM areas of focus. According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014, the maternal mortality rate stood at 362 deaths per 100,000 live births and 52 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.