The Poor Servants of the Mother of God run a clinic in the remote area of Mutito, Kitui County, Kenya, where the nearest hospital is a 65km journey on a very rough dirt road. On Wednesday 24th January 2018 the Sisters received confirmation from the Ministry of Health that their health facility would be upgraded from a Health Clinic to a Health Centre.
This upgrade is a very strong endorsement from government agencies and helps to highlight the quality of their service, which is echoed by the positive feedback from service users. It is a very significant achievement for a facility that the Sisters have been gradually building up in a very disadvantaged area. This latest upgrade will require the employment of a Clinician at the facility, and increase the total number of staff to six (1 clinician, 2 nurses, 1 lab technician and 2 Sisters who are qualified in public health management, health care and pharmacy services).
The Kitui area has been badly affected by drought in recent years. In 2015 and 2016 Misean Cara provided funding to the Sisters to build solar power and rain-water harvesting facilities. In 2017, the health facility didn’t run out of water, despite an increase in the numbers using the facility, and the solar power units provided a reliable backup when the mains supply was cut. Funding was also provided to extend the facility through the construction of a small maternity unit, and to purchase advanced laboratory equipment. The Maternal and Child Health section of the facility was opened in February 2016.
The government provides some capitation costs on a quarterly basis, as well as medicines and vaccines. Officials from the ministry monitor the health facility through regular monthly visits and also agree on annual targets for the services provided. These services also include the provision of the full vaccination programme to infants as well as growth monitoring.
“The care I get here is very personal and of good quality. I really appreciated that the Sisters even gave me a small gift upon the birth of my daughter. I will continue returning every month to ensure Fridah gets the full vaccination programme here”. Carol Mali, patient at the Clinic.
In 2017, 6,249 clients/service users were treated at this facility; this included the delivery of 94 babies. Unfortunately one baby did not survive as the family had left it too late to come to the centre, and even then had to travel a long distance via motorbike on a very rough road.
Raising awareness of the value of good quality health care is a key role of the Sisters, conducted largely through three outreach clinics each month and word-of-mouth recommendations from existing services users. Most births in the surrounding rural areas take place at home, some with traditional birth attendants (whose skill levels vary). The sisters also have a vehicle at the health facility to transport critical patients/emergency cases to the nearest hospital in Kitui town. In such cases the patient is always accompanied by a nurse from the facility.
Special report by Séamus O’Leary, Learning & Development Manager, Misean Cara.
Photo caption: Sr Catherine Makau, Carol Mali and her daughter Frida (who was born 6 months ago in the health facility) and Misean Cara Mentor Paul.