Saving babies lives: Nurse initiates child: The Standard

Pediatric nurse Christine Sammy (centre with a dummy child) demonstrating to fellow medics how to resuscitate an asphyxiated child at Kitui County Referral Hospital. [Philip Muasya/Standard]

Nothing is more painful to a mother than losing a baby. Losing two in a row is more unbearable. This happened to Patricia Kioko, soon after getting married in 2009.

All was well until she was five months pregnant. Suddenly, her blood pressure shot up to dangerous levels and she miscarried the pregnancy.
In 2010, she got pregnant again. She had a troubled pregnancy until the ninth month, and this time it was a stillbirth.
“I nearly lost my head. I so badly wanted a child but here I was, all my efforts going down the drain,” she reminisces.
The following year, she got pregnant again and this time round, she was extremely vigilant for any alarm signs.
At six months, she noticed her blood pressure was in revolt again. 
“I did not want to take chances. I opted to undergo a caesarian section to save the baby,” she says.
Healthy girl
The surgery was performed at Kitui Level 4 and the baby girl, weighing barely a kilo was kept at the hospital’s nursery while the mother was admitted for a month. Within this period, Kioko was afforded time to breastfeed her baby until she weighed 1.8kg. 

“She is now a big healthy girl in Grade Two,” says Kioko with a smile.
Hers is a sad tale of many women who lose their babies before, during or a few days after delivery.
Christine Sammy, a pediatrician nurse who is the County Newborn and Child Health Coordinator and in charge of the NBU at Kitui Level 4 hospital, says high blood pressure of an expectant mother can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth, a condition medically known as pre-eclampsia.
Fired up by her passion to save children’s lives, the nurse has initiated a neonatal resuscitation skills training to equip health workers, and especially those in rural areas with skills on saving lives of newborns.
The programme dubbed ‘Emergency Triage Assessment and Treatment plus Admission Care of the Critically ill Child and Newborn’ is a cocktail of practical ways in which a baby born with asphyxia (difficulty in breathing) is urgently aided to breathe.
In the training programe which is a joint venture between the county government and Afya Halisi, the medics are trained on key intervention measures in resuscitating asphyxiated babies within the first four minutes after birth.

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