Spotlight on Karen Roses – El Dama Ravine Sub County Hospital Maternity Unit

Karen Roses grow more than just flowers – they have a strong position in the local community and we had a chance to see some of the work they have been doing around them: The El Dama Ravine Sub County Hospital Maternity Unit. This unit was built in partnership between Baringo County Government, Karen Roses & The Waitrose Foundation, bringing the best maternity services in Baringo County to El Dama Ravine.  

I visiting the new unit with Calvine Emadau (Sales & CSR Manager) and Peter Kamuren (General Manager) of Karen Roses. We met with Dr. Phillip Kamau (Medical Superintendent), Dr. Ngoni Kevin (Pharmacist in Charge), Haron Kabirer (Hospital Administrator) and Anyesi Serem (Nursing Officer) who kindly took us around the hospital and explained the benefit to the community of the new Maternity Unit. No babies were being delivered at the time of the visit!

Dr. Phillip Kamau,

When was this maternity unit opened?

The new facility was opened in 2015, before this we had a smaller unit which was within the main wards. It could only accommodate 15-20 expecting patients and lacked privacy for expecting mothers and infection control was difficult. Access to theatre for surgery was also difficult as the Maternity Unit did not have it’s own theatre at that point.

The new unit is in a separate building entirely.

What are the benefits of the new maternity unit?

Ther is accommodattion for up to 40 expecting mothers. We have a maternity specific surgery unit so that in case of any emergencies, mothers can be taken into surgery immediately without delay. Thanks to the Government Managed Equipment Scheme we have a modern Ultrasound unit and X-Ray Machine. Privacy for mothers and infection control are now both greatly improved.

Where is the patient intake from, El Dama Ravine, or wider?

All across Baringo County and wider. We have the best Maternity Unit in Baringo and expecting mothers know this, some travel long distances to engage in our services. Frequently, we see mothers from Kericho, Nakuru, Kabarnet and have even received one lady from Mombasa. We receive ladies from all walks of life. The Government contributes KES5,000 per lady which allows us to support the care of those who cannot afford to pay for our services.

Can you tell us how many babies approximately are born in this unit each year?

At this unit, we are lucky to see 3-4,000 babies born every year.

How many Doctors and Nurses are on staff?

We are fortunate to have 5 Doctors (1 Consultant) and 15 Nurses. Even when we are at full capacity each patient receives the attention they require by a qualified, caring staff. Students come from local universities to learn from our teams.

If you could sum up the impact that this unit has, what would you say?

This unit has had a tremendous impact on the local community and we can say has transformed people’s lives. The health and wellbeing of mothers has been greatly improved. Health workers attend to patients in a dignified way, privacy is maintained and infection control is greatly improved. We have seen reduced maternal deaths now there are no delays in going to theatre in the event of complications.

You mentioned outreach health work is carried out, could you outline this?

We carry out a lot of health & wellbeing education in the community. This includes making expecting mothers aware of the benefits of giving birth in hospital and ensuring that HIV positive mother’s are aware that it is possible for a HIV positive mother to deliver a HIV free child. This greatly helps to reduce the stigma around HIV and ensures mothers feel comfortable in approaching us with any issues or concerns they may have. We now see only 2-3 mothers in 1000 who choose to deliver at home instead of in the hospital.

What are some of the challenges you face?

As result of COVID, we saw a significant increase in underage pregnancies whilst children were not at school. Fortunately, we have seen this reduce greatly since they have returned to school, and our outreach work being able to re-continue.

Dr. Phillip Kamau, thank you for your time and for answering our questions.

Calvine Emadau (Sales & CSR Manager, Karen Roses), could you talk about the impact that this new unit has had on your workforce at Karen Ravine Roses?

When our workers find out that they are pregnant, it is important to us that they have access to the best possible facilities for a positive outcome. Nearly all our workers who require these services use the new Maternity Unit at the El Dama Ravine Sub County Hospital. This maternity unit is critical for us and for our workers. We have a long-standing relationship with the hospital which our workforce relies on and we’re pleased to be able to make a contribution to the building of this maternity unit.

Thank you Calvine.

By Rowan Godfrey, Head of Technical, The Flower Hub.