We were alerted to the situation regarding maternal health facilities in the Lamu District in early 2010.
Paul Ochieng, of Malteser International visitied Lamu in March 2010, with Alice Murphy, and produced a detailed report on the help required and suggestions on how the Order of Malta could assist. Several further trips have been undertaken since then.
During these visits we meet as many people in the district as possible, including the Director of Kenya Wildlife Service, The Deputy District Commissioner, The Curator of the Museum, the Chief Medical Officer, other organisations helping in the area including NGOs, missionaries and medical groups.
It is evident that there is a great need for help in the district, particularly in the area of maternal health and child welfare.
The challenge will be prioritising in which area the need is greatest and this is being achieved slowly by meeting with all the other stakeholders.
Lamu District is predominantly Muslim and there is a need for that reason there is great need more female doctors to treat the women, but unfortunately very few women in the area receive the education required to pursue a career in medicine.
The next step will be meetings with the Ministry of Health in Nairobi to discuss how the Order of Malta can assist the government, so that we can begin to eradicate the unnecessary deaths and sickness of mother and baby occurring through childbirth in this area.
One of the problems is a lack of necessary equipment in both the hospital and the outlying clinics and dispensaries.