Fairtrade brings relieve to pregnant mothers in Kipkoror.
A pregnant mother living in Kipkoror village in Nandi hills has high chances of losing her baby due to lack of medical facility closer to her.
The nearest town Kapsabet is about 20 Kilometers away, while the Moi referral hospital in Eldoret about 80 kilometers from Kipkoror.
The poor road and lack of facilities has been the reason for the high rate of maternal and neonatal deaths. A small tiny room with one bed near the window is all that Kipkoror dispensary calls a maternity wing. The facility can only see one lucky mother delivering a child. The rest have to wait or travel to the nearest town to access the services.
Triza Jerop, a nurse who joined the dispensary in 2010 and has seen the number of mothers coming to deliver from the dispensary increase from ten to twenty in a day, to between 50 and 60.
“Ten to twenty percent of children and mothers in this area die due to the long distance they need to travel to reach the nearest hospital”, says Triza.
The dispensary was established in 2003 and has been struggling to offer health services to the rural poor community and according to the records, the number of registered patients is more than 47,000. The dispensary has only one building which serves as a patients’ room, a drug store, a laboratory and a maternity ward.
It was in December 2012 that Fairtrade came in to save the situation. Using premium from tea, Sireet Outgrowers Empowerment and Producers Company limited, raised 1.5 million shillings to purchase construction materials for the maternity wing which will contain ten beds.
This is a big relief and a life saver to mothers and the new born babies.
“As mothers we have been suffering a lot, but we are very grateful to Fairtrade for building the maternity wing”, said Emily Chemayo, a resident.
The dispensary did not have enough land to build the maternity wing. The management mobilized the locals who are tea growers to fundraise money to purchase land.
“Using the sales from tea, the community was able to purchase 0.3 of an acre and that is why Fairtrade was able to come in and help”, said Benard Kiptanui Koech, chairman of the dispensary.
The building needs an extra 500,000 shillings to start operating.
The chairman of Sireet Outgrowers Empowerment and Producers Company limited Wilson Tuwei, urges the buyers to continue buying more Fairtrade tea so that more such facilities can be built to help save lives in the rural communities.
Mr.Tuwei is optimistic that following the launch of Fairtrade Eastern Africa, more people will buy products with the FAIRTRADE mark.
“I urge every Kenyan consumer to look for any product with FAIRTRADE mark so that more hospitals can be built”.