Innovative modern manyatta maternity saving lives in Kajiado

Kajiado County CEC of health in the mandate maternity at Ng'atataek. Photo/NANCY CHEPKOECH
Kajiado County County Executive in charge (CEC) of Health in the county, Gladys Marima, (left) in the manyatta maternity at Ng'atataek. Photo/NANCY CHEPKOECH

When the Jubilee Administration was taking over the reins back in 2013, one of the things they promised Kenyans to accomplish in the first 100 days in office was free maternity services in all public hospitals.

Ironically, it appears that Maasai women were unmoved by the government’s pledge of bettering women maternity services and remained rooted to their traditional culture as majority sought the services of traditional midwives to deliver in their homes.

In February last year, Kajiado Governor David ole Nkedienye lamented that pregnant women in the county are, “increasingly avoiding maternity facilities despite the huge sums of money the county has spent to upgrade them.”

However, it is a relief to women in Ng’atataek area of Kajiado County after the county government in conjunction with a Good Samaritan has turned a traditional Manyatta into a modern maternity facility.

In a bid to encourage more women in the county to seek modern maternity services, the manyatta in Ng’atataek is well furnished with the relevant equipment that is available in a modern facility including medicinal drugs, spacious room, warm beds, proper ventilation, mosquito nets as well as ready blood banks and an ambulance from the nearby Ng’atataek Health Center.

A modern manyatta maternity
A modern manyatta maternity at Ng’atataek in Kajiado County

According to the County Executive in charge (CEC) of Health in the county, Gladys Marima, they decided to fund the manyatta because many women were not ready to deliver their babies in hospitals citing the cold conditions in such facilities, and the fact that older women are uncomfortable with young nurses attending to them since it is taboo for them to see their nakedness.

“We realized women were not coming to the Ng’atataek facility because of their perception that the hospital environment is cold and the fact they were not comfortable in a solely modern maternity facility, so we decided to create a warmer space and a place where they could feel at home, and that is when we came up with this manyatta,” said the CEC.

Gladys Lepapa, the Good Samaritan, says that they saw the struggles endured by women seeking maternity services in Kajiado and decided to give them a unique safr facility that they will be comfortable with.

“We saw our women delivering at home yet that is so dangerous for their lives, so we decided to come up with an improved manyatta where they will be willing to visit with ease,” narrated Ms Lepapa.

Recently, the county government of Kajiado decided to recruit traditional birth attendants to help educate women on the need to seek assistance from the county facilities. Eventually, these will be the initiative the devolved government will adopt to ensure that the ‘Beyond Zero Campaign’s’ mission of zero maternal mortality has been achieved.

Story by Majanga Michael and Nancy Chepkoech

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