HEALTH BOOST

Boat ambulance to deliver health services to remote islands

It is fitted with patient monitor, medical oxygen, a delivery kit for pregnant mothers, and a stretcher for the patient.

In Summary
  • It will cut the time it takes to travel from Lamu East to King Fahd by boat from three hours to just 30 minutes.
  • The launch took place at the Lamu island jetty on Friday.
Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha, Safaricom Foundation chairperson Joseph Ogutu and other officials during the launch on Sunday.
Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha, Safaricom Foundation chairperson Joseph Ogutu and other officials during the launch on Sunday.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

A boat ambulance, which has delivery facilities for expectant women, has been launched in Lamu. 

It will cut the time it takes to travel from Lamu East to King Fahd by boat from three hours to just 30 minutes.

The ambulance was launched by the county government of Lamu in collaboration with the Safaricom Foundation.

The two said the boat will boost healthcare access to residents in far-flung islands in the region.

The launch took place at the Lamu island jetty on Friday.

It is fitted with emergency facilities including a patient monitor, medical oxygen, infusion pump, delivery kit for pregnant mothers, surgical kit and a stretcher for the patient.

The initiative aims to support the movement of referred patients, specimens, and specialists across Lamu, with a special focus on the Lamu East sub-county, which is the most disadvantaged in terms of access to the King Fahd Referral hospital on Lamu Island.

Speaking during the launch, Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha lauded Safaricom Foundation for its continued partnership to attain significant improvements in the availability and readiness of critical equipment, infrastructure and medical technologies to facilitate service delivery and critical emergency services.

"This is a great milestone, the ambulance will ferry patients free of charge and it will be on duty 24/7. This type of collaboration demonstrates a viable approach to a long-term healthcare system that promotes better patient care and more effective treatment and emergency care," said Twaha.

The governor noted that Lamu has successfully improved maternal health care and recorded reduced maternal and newborn deaths by more than two-thirds, thanks to the collaboration with Safaricom Foundation and other partners, as well as heavy county investment in health.

Other areas of collaboration with Safaricom Foundation include telemedicine and classroom development for Lamu County schools.

Safaricom Foundation chairperson, Joseph Ogutu with Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha during the launch on Sunday.
Safaricom Foundation chairperson, Joseph Ogutu with Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha during the launch on Sunday.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

Safaricom Foundation chairperson Joseph Ogutu lauded Lamu county government leadership for their cooperation and dedication to improving and expanding access to quality health care for all Lamu residents.

He said that, as a result of the strong relationship with the Foundation, Lamu now has a maternity high dependency unit, newborn units at King Fahd and Faza and a maternal and child health clinic in Mpeketoni Sub-County Hospital.

A new medical laboratory is also set to be opened in June in Witu Hospital in Lamu West, courtesy of the county and the foundation.

Lamu county health executive Anne Gathoni said the county government remains committed to improving access to quality and affordable health care, utilisation of health services, and population financial protection.

The latter has seen the registration of over 20,000 households to the National Health Insurance Fund.

“We are equally committed to the digitisation of all health services, upgrading of the county's primary health facilities, distribution of medical supplies, employment of health workers, and development of health infrastructure,” said Gathoni.