In close cooperation with County government and the Ministry of Health, the European Union today launched a project to improve maternal and child health and family planning in four districts of Taita Taveta, which is set to deliver access to healthcare and advice to almost 80,000 people.
Working through World Vision, International Medical Corps and St Joseph Shelter of Hope, the European Union will spend Shs 98 million over the next 3 years to benefit an estimated 35,000 mothers and children to improve their access to health care and advice during pregnancy and birth, and provide better nutrition in the early years of life.
Fifty youth promoters will also be recruited in order to spread information and advice about safe and healthy family planning, intended to educate a further 40,000 young people in the county.
The launch in Voi was attended by HE Eng. John Mruttu, Governor of Taita Taveta County; Hon.
Jones Mwaghogho Mlowa, MP; and Dr. John Logendi, from the Ministry of Health. They were joined by Dr. Hjordis D'Agostino Ogendo from the European Union together with Country Directors Mr.
Dickens Thunde, World Vision Kenya, and Mr. Ekin Ogutogulari, International Medical Corps.
The project will operate in Mwatate, Wundanyi, Taveta and Voi districts and is designed to address the combined effect of disease, higher than average poverty rate and poor nutrition, which has led to a reported high child mortality rate of 93 per 1000 live births in the local population. The project will address the low level of health services in the area.
Through training 500 health care workers, who will be employed by the Health Ministry at the county and district level, the project will teach mothers-to-be about antenatal care, safe birthing procedures, and better feeding and hygiene practices for young babies. The project is supporting Kenya’s National Reproductive Health Strategy and Policy and will help build the ability of the local Health Ministry office to provide long-term health services.
Talking about the launch, the European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Lodewijk Briet, said, “The health of mothers and new born children is a critical concern of ours at the European Union.
Together with colleagues in government and partners on the ground, we are doing our bit to help achieve the Kenyan government’s targets to reduce child mortality rates and improve maternal health in the poorest parts of the country. “The European Union has been supporting projects aiming at improving child and maternal health in Kenya for almost 20 years.” This is one of 19 mother and child health projects being implemented around the country with funding from the European Union in partnership with communities, local and national government.
The European Union is currently spending Shs 1.7 billion on child and maternal health in Kenya. Following the conclusion of training in early 2016 the Ministry of Health and community will be responsible for maintaining the delivery of services.