During our visit to Kenya in 2007 we came into contact with the Matata Children’s Hospital in Oyugis. The hospital is situated in the Rachuonyo District in the province of Nyanza in the west of Kenya, near to Lake Victoria. It is one of the poorest regions in Kenya. The local population lives mainly on agriculture and fishing. There is some industry in the cities. Click on maps.google.
We were introduced to Dr. John Malago, head of the Matata Hospital.
The hospital can accommodate 50 children and their mothers and treats more than 75 outpatients daily.
In addition to the 76 professional care workers, two of them doctors, there are 6 volunteers working in the hospital. They administer medical treatment, provide care and nursing and give out information. There are 40 volunteers in the surrounding areas providing basic health care.
John Malago spoke enthusiastically about his work with the children and their often extremely young mothers who have been admitted to him for treatment for AIDS–related illnesses. Full of pride, he showed us around his pharmacy, but we noticed a severe shortage of medical supplies. It was also lacking in other essential resources, such as syringes and bandages.
Despite Dr. Malago’s positive outlook we were extremely shocked by the suffering that we’d seen and decided there and then to do our very best to support the hospital. With our help, Dr. Malago would be able to provide more adequate help and assistance to the patients entrusted to his care.
Current situation in the Matata Hospital
The Matata Hospital has a capacity of 120 beds, including 50 for children, 15 for maternity care, 35 for female patients with complications and 20 for male patients and emergencies.
On a daily basis, some 150 outpatients are treated.
There are 90 professionals working in the hospital, including three doctors.
In addition, approximately 100 volunteers provide basic health care and inform the communities in the area about health.
Over the years, the quality of the hospital increased from level 2 to level 4.
There is a nice map available now with an overview of all the dispensaries of the Matata Children Hospital.
Dr. John Malago has given us the following explanation:
Meaning of the word Matata
Matata is a plant with thorns which is used for fencing and nothing can pass through this fence. That is the way Matata as a Hospital is suppose to contain all types of illnesses and it is also a Kiswahili word meaning war, meaning Matata Hospital is meant to fight the sickness.
Dr John Malago, head of the Matata Children’s Hospital, wrote the following for our website.
Socio- Economic condition of Rachuonyo Districts in Kenya
The Socio-economic condition of Rachuonyo Districts (South and North) is generally poor, with the North having food deficit of 45% and South 70%.
The rainfall patterns are as 25% reliable in the North and 45 % reliable in the South.
There are several health facilities/Hospitals of level 4 Matata included, three sub district hospitals, Kabondo, Kandiege and Kendu Bay. There are a number Health Centres and Dispensaries which most of them are managed by the Community and supported by the Government.
HIV/AIDS pandemic infection rate is at 16.9% (Nascop 2010 report).
Integrated subsistence agriculture is majority practiced, with itinerant commercial activities leading. The area is rated 74% poor averagely.
Environmentally, people have destroyed forest lands and available rivers are equally being destroyed through poor farming methods; there is a lot of encroachment to the river banks creating siltation into the rivers. Generally 4% of the population of 399,700 (2009 census) is accessed to clean piped water. The rest use either river water shallow well or lake waters. Sanitation situation is mostly absurd, with most households having temporary pit-latrines which susceptible to drifting human wastes to underground and river waters.
Such situation is normally vulnerable to the outbreaks of water born diseases, particularly in the North Rachuonyo.
John Malago CEO Matata Children’s Hospital Kenya