Mckline is a special little boy. Almost two years old, he lives in Bungoma, Kenya with his parents Catherine and Fredrick. They are already saving for his education and have ambitions for him to be an engineer one day.
Mckline was the first baby born at a healthcare facility in Bungoma County, Kenya, which is supported through the GSK partnership with Save the Children to help save children’s lives.
Save the Children spoke to Mckline’s mum and dad about his arrival, his first months, and the effect that his birth has had on others in their community:
“Mckline was born in Bumula Sub County Hospital,” says Fredrick. “When my wife Catherine was pregnant, I advised her to visit the hospital and she managed to attend clinic sessions seven times before the delivery. On 4th July 2014, my wife delivered a healthy baby boy. I was very happy. Mckline weighed 3kgs at birth, the delivery was ok and we left hospital the following day.”
“I saw many mothers die when they delivered at home,” says Catherine. When I realised I was pregnant, my husband advised me to go to hospital and I attended the clinic throughout.
The hospital’s help did not stop there: “Mckline has been vaccinated free of charge from the time he was born. I was also taught how to feed him when he started eating and I learned about food and nutrients. Although sometimes I lack transport and I have to walk for a long distance to the hospital, I appreciate the treatment and advice from the nurses,” says Catherine.
Fredrick and his family live in a one roomed house which also doubles up as a shop for his battery charging and electronics repairs business. Catherine grows vegetables in their garden and helps at the shop. Fredrick says: “I want baby Mckline to be healthy. I take him to hospital whenever he is sick. I want him to have a good education, and so I have started saving for his education. At times when he has to go to hospital, we lack transport. Economically, it is not easy; he has to eat a balanced diet, dress well and celebrate his birthday like other children.”
Asked about changes in maternal health trends in her community, Catherine says: “My successful delivery in hospital was a good example and most expectant mothers come to me for advice and I send them to the hospital. Although we still have some traditional midwifes who only send the mother to hospital when they have complications, things are changing as most mothers have started going to hospital.”
Baby Mckline is now 20 months old. He can’t speak yet but is very active. Fredrick says: “When I am doing repair works at the shop, Mckline is very keen. I think he will be an engineer. I wanted to be an engineer, I did not get there but I hope my son will get there.”
The Save the Children GSK-funded Health Signature Programme was officially launched in Bungoma County on 4th July 2014. On the day of the launch, Mckline Wekesa was the first baby to be born in a GSK supported MoH facility in Kenya.
So far, 47 health facilities in Bungoma County have benefited from the GSK funded Health Signature Programme through several interventions including trainings of health care workers on Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EmONC), Maternal and Perinatal Surveillance and Response, Infection prevention, Clinical mentorship and Kangaroo mother Care (KMC). Save the Children has also supported renovation of maternity wards and provided various equipment including solar panels to facilities without electricity and water tanks to health facilities without water supply. More than 25, 000 newborn babies have benefited directly and 16, 512 children have been reached indirectly with services offered in the supported health facilities.
Save the Children is campaigning for every last child in Kenya and doing whatever it takes to provide quality healthcare services to mothers and newborns in hard-to-reach communities.