OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE TOTO SMART BOOK CLUB BY HER EXCELLENCY ELIZABETH KINYANJUI
By OLIVE BEATRICE
The County Government of Nakuru, in partnership with Kenya National Library Service (KNLS), has officially launched the Toto Smart Book Club program at Bondeni Maternity Sub-County Hospital.
The launching of this new program was officiated by Her Excellency Elizabeth Kinyanjui, the First Lady of Nakuru County.
This program is the first of its kind in the whole of Africa and Nakuru County Government is proud to have Bondeni Maternity Sub-County Hospital as the first facility to launch the program in Kenya.
This launch confirms the commitment of His Excellency the governor, through the Department of Health Services, towards ensuring that the public has access to innovative, quality, cost-friendly, and dignified health services hence the introduction of this program to the facility.
Toto Smart Book Club is a program that encourages expectant mothers to read books to their children after they are conceived and up to two years after they are born.
This program is all-inclusive to benefit both the mothers and their babies. It not only forms an innovative way for mothers to bond with their children but also promotes the brain activity of the child, which can, in turn, promote early literacy skills and language development.
The books that the mothers read are curated in a way that even you as a mother, will be able to gain some knowledge on topics of maternal health and good nutrition.
Toto Smart is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of Nakuru’s KNLS that aims to give back to the community by promoting literature.
This program has been in operation in the Bondeni facility since February 2022 after the signing of the Memorandum OF Understanding (MOU) between KNLS and the County Government of Nakuru.
Expectant mothers in Toto Smart Book Club hold meetings in the facility’s library from 10 am to 12 noon every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday whereby they come together to read books both in English and Kiswahili for their unborn children.
The Partner Liason Officer Department of Health, Dr. Toromo Kochei said that he is glad to be able to witness this new program that is the first of its kind in the country and that he is excited to see the product that this child will become.
Dr. Toromo added that the Department of Health Services will continue supporting KNLS in its implementation of this project for years to come.
The Medical Superintendent Bondeni Sub-County Hospital, Dr. Lillian Mureithi commended the KNLS for the great effort it has put forth towards introducing Toto Smart Book Club in the facility.
Dr. Mureithi said that within the last 5 years, the hospital has enjoyed unprecedented development projects courtesy of the County Government of Nakuru, through His Excellency The Governor.
Bondeni Maternity Sub-County Hospital is currently running 35 breastfeeding community initiatives that help mothers learn about breastfeeding and how to best bond with their children.
Among the 35 initiatives, there are 2 teenage support groups with children between 11 and 18 years, 6 father-to-mother support groups, diabetic and hypertensive support groups.
Her Excellency Elizabeth Kinyanjui encouraged the women of Bondeni to utilize this new project to their advantage by reading many books because they could even get inspired to write their own books.
HE. Elizabeth Kinyanjui gave thanks to KNLS for all the knowledge the women will get and all the wisdom they shall gain by reading.
Nakuru County has 3 branches of KNLS in Nakuru, Naivasha, and Gilgil and the County is looking forward to implementing similar programs in the other two branches.
The County Government of Nakuru is also looking forward to establishing libraries within social halls by creating spaces that they can stock with books for communities to use.
The Bondeni Sub-County Hospital, together with the County Government of Nakuru and the Ministry of Health are also working towards bringing a dental department to the facility, hopefully before the end of 2022.
This facility will soon open a theater that is currently 75% complete, a physiotherapy department, and an occupational therapy department.
During the launch, each of the expectant mothers present was given two free books by the KNLS and a special package courtesy of the First Lady, H.E. Elizabeth Kinyanjui.