MAMA Empowers Traditional Birth Attendants in Orus, East Pokot on Safe Delivery Practices
In a remote village in East Pokot, Baringo County, access to quality maternal and child healthcare services is a daunting trek of nearly 50 kilometers away. For many pregnant mothers in Orus Village, traveling to the nearest community health center tens of miles away is not an option.
Orus Village, one of the most marginalized rural communities in Kenya, depends on the passionate work of TBAs and CHVs who devote their skills and experience to care for and save the lives of pregnant mothers and infants.
Transportation and communication infrastructure in East Pokot and Orus Village remains extremely underdeveloped. Expectant women and sick residents rely on the hardly available and highly expensive Boda Boda (Motorcycle) riders to commute to the distant healthcare facility. Those who cannot afford the ride have to make the long tiring journey to hospital by foot.
A pregnant mother’s hope for herself and her unborn child rests on TBAs and CHVs.
Although many TBAs lack proper training and medical equipment to facilitate safe births, with the help of MAMA many TBAs and CHVs receive training and birth kits to improve the safety and care for mothers and infants during delivery.
Hellen Marron, a 29-year-old mother of six living in Orus, almost delivered her second born under the bushes while looking after her family’s livestock.
“I never went for any antenatal care during my first three pregnancies, I delivered at home,” says Marron.
Marron also said she was lucky that she did not develop any complications during the pregnancies or after delivery. Not every expectant mother in Orus is lucky as such.
Complicated pregnancies due to female genital mutilation, cultural practice common among the Pokot community, is mostly a death sentence to expectant mothers in Orus.
MAMA believes that through training of TBAs and CHVs, it is possible to strengthen health systems in rural marginalized areas and enhance community self-reliance.
Besides training TBAs and CHVs to improve maternal and child health among marginalized communities, MAMA is building a wellness and resource center that includes training facilities and a full-fledged maternity health center.