Health experts argue that when compared, the diseases and health conditions in mobile populations do not differ substantially from those of sedentary populations, but pastoralists suffer higher Infant mortality rates, Maternal Mortality rates, and higher deaths of children aged below five (Chabasse et al., 1985; Brainard, 1986; Munch, 2007).
For over five decades, governments regarded pastoralism as ‘backward’, economically inefficient and environmentally destructive, leading to policies that have served to marginalize and undermine pastoralist systems. Mandera was one such perfect example.
Health care in Mandera had one of the worst health indicators in Kenya before devolution but today it is a shining example of transformation and improved services.
The people of Mandera had little or no access healthcare services, safe drinking water and diseases ranged from malaria, diarrhea, respiratory diseases brucellosis, measles and dengue fever just to mention a few.
Before devolution it was a story of high maternal/infant mortality, poor child survival and disease burden have been higher than the rest of the country. The sorry state of health services was contributed by inadequate infrastructure, pharmaceutical supplies and access to health care due to the number of the primary health care facilities in relation to the sparse nomadic population.
Over and above infrastructure and personnel challenges, inability to retain and attract skilled health workers continued to affect the quality of health care services while health facilities operated with only 3 percent staffing level, far from the recommended WHO standard of 3 health workers per 1,000 populations. Timely and adequate referral system has been one of the pronounced problems in attending to emergencies and saving human life especially that threatened by prolonged and complicated labor among women of child bearing age.
Today, the county administration is proud to have made strategic interventions and fresh investments it we have rehabilitated and equipped 52 health facilities which we inherited while operating at10 percent capacity, we have hired staff and built new health centers.
- Hired additional 360 medical professionals making it a total of 500
- added 8 new health facilities totaling to 60 in the County
- Rehabilitated and upgraded Mandera Referral Hospital
- First caesarian section delivery at Takaba Hospital
- Hired seven ambulances with ICU medevac capability
- Purchased seven ambulances run directly by County Government
- Opened outreach medical services for immunization in six sub counties