(Co-authored by Teresa Akun)
“I gave birth to my third born baby, Grace, in October 2014, when my pregnancy was just 29 weeks. Grace was 1.4kgs and reduced to 1.25 kgs after two days. I had lost all hope as the baby was so tiny and I knew that this baby would die. Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) was introduced around this time and I was taught about it. Initially it was not easy to keep putting the baby in the ‘kangaroo’ position, but I noticed the baby was gaining weight fast and I was determined to see my baby survive.
"I stayed in hospital for 14 days. I put the baby close to me on my chest all the time, the kangaroo style. We were many mothers in the KMC ward so rather than wait for the baby to weigh 2kgs, I had to be discharged when the baby weighed 1.5kgs.
“At home, I continued with KMC and my goal was to ensure that the baby added atleast one gram every time I went to the clinic. My eldest daughter, who is now 17 years old, asked me why I wrapped the baby on the chest every time. I explained to her the benefits and she helped me to continue with KMC when I was busy. I showed her how to carry the baby ‘kangaroo’ style. It was also good for her to bond with the baby.”
“My baby is now 11kgs she is one year and six months, she is walking and even learning to talk. She is my miracle baby! KMC saved my baby’s life and I never hesitate to encourage mothers. In our community, the death of underweight babies has really reduced in Bungoma. I have become a mentor and KMC champion. I am a casual worker at the Bungoma County Hopsital and after my daily chores cleaning the facility, I always go to the KMC ward, I talk to the mothers and encourage them by giving them my example.”
Kangaroo Mother Care is part of the GSK-funded Health Signature Programme being implemented in Bungoma County. Save the Children has been supporting the Ministry of Health (MoH) to establish KMC services in Bungoma County since 2014. KMC is now being implemented in nine health facilities.
Save the Children has conducted minor renovations of rooms provided by the county Ministry of Health (MoH) for KMC, provided basic equipment for care of the babies, trained health care workers and established follow-up mechanisms of babies discharged to continue with KMC at home. The County on the other hand has been responsible for ensuring that the KMC units are adequately staffed with sufficient medicine and commodities for care of the babies as well and food and linen for the mothers while they are admitted. In Kenya we are campaigning for every last child living in remote communities to have access to quality healthcare services.