Currently only one in twenty-five women in Singorwet, a small town in the District of Bomet, deliver their babies in a health clinic and the rest have their babies on the floor of their mud huts. The trend in Singorwet is representative of a larger problem in Kenya, where only 30% of Kenya’s health care facilities provide services for delivering children and nearly 8,000 women die every year while giving birth. For this project, local leaders and community members in Singorwet approached their local Peace Corps Volunteer and expressed their desire to obtain maternity ward equipment for the local health clinic to give women the opportunity to deliver their babies at the clinic as opposed to at home without the supervision of a health professional. As a demonstration of the community’s support of this project, 100% of women in the community reported in a pre-project survey that they would deliver at the clinic with the proper equipment and supplies. Once fully equipped, the Singorwet Dispensary anticipates delivering approximately 700 healthy babies each year.
With the support of the World Connect grant, the community and the Peace Corps Volunteer were able to create a clean and safe maternity ward. In addition to upgrading the maternity ward, the Singorwet Dispensary was awarded World Connect’s 2012 Charlotte Daniel Champions of Change Award, which allowed the community to expand the maternity ward and add a doctor’s house. The addition of housing for medical personnel immediately upgraded the facility in the eyes of the local government and the clinic now receives more resources from the Ministry of Health, which will allow them to accommodate more births and provide an even higher level of care than originally anticipated.
“Peace Corps has really helped us. Before we had no where to go for deliveries and now people in the community feel they have contributed in helping women have a safe place to give birth. Women are learning about reproductive health and pre and post birth care from our clinic which is a big improvment from previous years.” - Samwel Koech, Project Leader
“The clinic is much cheaper for us than going to the Mission Hospital so we are happy to have it. It is also nice because we do not have to go far so that we can deliver in a safe place. Women in our area are becoming more aware of maternal care and feel proud that our dispensary can be an example for other communities.” - Janet Ruto, Beneficiary
“Before the project women in the area were uneducated about maternal issues and the importance of pre and post birth care. Since we have begun training of members of the community and raising the funds for the equipment, there has been more awareness. We have seen an increase in the mothers that come for pre-birth services at the MCH clinic as well as mothers bringing in their children for vaccinations. We believe that more and more women, as they become aware of our services, will opt to deliver their babies in our clinic. This experience has been so rewarding not only because I know we are helping rural women who have very little opportunity for medical options, but just to see the pride in their faces that their community has these services and that they helped to implement them.” - Andrea Flynn-Schneider, Peace Corps Volunteer