Two clinics have been set up in Witu more than five years after most clinics were closed down after medics fled the area over Alshabaab attacks.
The two clinics have been set up in Soroko and Kona Mbaya two areas that have experienced attacks orchestrated by suspected Alshabaab militants.
Kona Mbaya was the scene of a 2014 attack on a Tahmeed coach bus that left two police officers dead while in 2017, residents and medics fled Soroko, Kakate, Maleli, Rehema, Furaha, and Sendemke areas after suspected Alshabaab militants attacked and looted a clinic in nearby Pandanguo village.
According to the Lamu county government, the container clinics are set to provide services such as emergency services, laboratory tests, and family planning.
“ The residents now have convenient access to two fully kitted facilities that will provide wide-ranging primary healthcare services under a national and county government partnership,” The county said in a statement.
The absence of Medics who fled areas bordering the vast Boni forest over fears of Alshabaab blamed attacks has been blamed for the high rate of maternal deaths in the border county.
According to a June 2017 research conducted by the African Institute For Policy Development in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund, Lamu county is one of the 15 counties in Kenya that account for 60% of the maternal deaths in the country.
The research further estimated the rate to be 676 deaths for every 100,000 births in the county.
Ferdau Sharif, a social worker in the region, says most of the women are dying due to avoidable complications.
Sharif says the few dispensaries in the area are located kilometers away and that pregnant women have to trek for long hours before they can reach medical care.
“In Kiunga for instance, there is only one dispensary that tends to the entire division so you can imagine the immense population coming from all over to seek medical care. The workers are also few. We are now concerned about the number of pregnant women who died before reaching us or after reaching us later than they should have. The situation is not good,”said Sharif.
The fleeing medics had put the county’s healthcare in Limbo with the Lamu governor Fahim Twaha calling for the rotation of medical staff to ensure that all staff serve in hardship areas also known as terror hotspots like: Basuba in Boni forest, Kiunga, Ishakani, Mkokoni, Kiwayu, Pandanguo and parts of Witu.
The reestablishment of clinics comes just a few weeks after the county hired 92 medics in an effort to address the shortage of medics in Lamu.