Safaricom Foundation has donated a Kshs 9.5 million boat ambulance to King Fahad Referral Hospital in Lamu County to help deal with medical emergencies.
The ambulance will impact over 150,000 people by linking patients from Faza and Mpeketoni Sub-County Hospitals, Kiwayuu and Kizingitini dispensaries, Kiunga and other health centres to referral services at King Fahad Referral Hospital.
(TOP: Esther Osewe, a nursing officer at King Fahad Referral Hospital in Lamu County, checks the blood pressure of Fahim Twaha, the Lamu Governor, alongside Joe Ogutu, Safaricom Foundation Chairman during the handover of a boat ambulance).
The ambulance, which uses a toll-free number for emergency services, is also fitted with emergency and surgical equipment needed to treat patients needing critical care and is estimated to be able to conduct 50 referrals per month.
“The answer to achieving SDG 3, which has to do with ensuring healthy lives and wellbeing for all, lies in partnerships. We have had a fruitful partnership with the leadership of the Lamu County Government that has seen us invest more than Kshs 33 million in maternal healthcare. We hope that these latest investments will bring us closer to achieving near zero maternal and infant mortality rates.” said Joe Ogutu, Chairman, Safaricom Foundation.
Speaking during the launch, Fahim Twaha, Governor Lamu County commended Safaricom Foundation on its efforts to improve healthcare in the county.
“Smaller hospitals that need to refer patients to King Fahad Referral Hospital are spread out across the Indian Ocean in different locations. This means that patients have a difficult time trying to get to the level 5 hospital. This is because boats are either not easily accessible or only offer transportation during specific times. This makes urgent medical cases challenging to respond to,” he said.
Safaricom Foundation’s maternal health interventions in Lamu County are aimed at reducing the maternal mortality rate which stands at 676 deaths per 100,000 births compared to the national rate of 362 deaths per 100,000 births. The objective is to also eliminate the infant mortality rate which stands at 4.81 deaths per 1,000 live births.
This week the Foundation also commissioned education projects worth Kshs 2.7 million in in the county through the Ndoto Zetu initaitive with Kauthara Primary School receiving two ECDE classrooms. Bahati Njema Primary School and Shekale Primary School received classroom furniture and books respectively. Over 70 women at Kirinyaga Women’s Group in Hongwe also received equipment to grow their business.