With support from the Maternal and Newborn Improvement (MANI) project, Bungoma county has done what health system managers often overlook: recognising the achievements of their frontline workers.
On May 5th, Bungoma county kicked off a week-long series of events to celebrate the International Day of the Midwife. These events culminated in an award ceremony, to recognise high performing health facilities and individual midwives and nurses who have made a difference for mothers and newborns.
Speaking at the award ceremony, MANI’s Team Leader Nicole Sijenyi Fulton said:
"I share my heartfelt congratulations with each one of you. At MANI we are proud of you every day, and today is no exception. We push you to be better because we believe in you. May you continue to take great pride in your work, and be encouraged to take your facilities to even new heights."
Awards were given to four exceptional midwives, and a range of hospitals and health centres for their improved performance in antenatal care, infection prevention, quality improvement, and other clinical areas.
The event was attended by the County Executive Member for Health, Mr. Stephen Kokonya, who said:
"When I arrived here today I got very excited, to see all of our nurses and midwives so happy. Nursing and midwifery are not just academic or intellectual choices – this is a calling. These are professions in which every service you give is valuable. And for you to survive in nursing, definitely you require a very big heart. I want to thank the entire nursing fraternity in Bungoma county; we value you, and we care for you."
As recognition, midwives, nurses and their health facility managers received certificates, trophies and most importantly, public recognition. People danced to music and spirits were high.
Leaving the event one of the nursing officers in charge of a winning hospital described her experience of the day:
"It was very exciting, and it was a moment to relieve some of what nurses go through. When we won our award it was so beautiful. Next time we’ll do even better. The trophy has motivated us as a team; we are rejuvenated to work harder to defend our trophy, and to reclaim some of the ones that went to other hospitals! I’m looking forward to doing this again."
The MANI project is funded by the UK government, and has been working in Bungoma county since 2015. MANI is improving access to quality health services to reduce maternal and newborn mortality.