37 Births in 30 Days

By Kinya Kaunjuga

Maasai Mothers. Photo ©Job Mukuria.

She was the chief’s 14th wife. The child she was carrying was betrothed to a distant village to unite two clans and make them a powerful force in land and cattle possession. The stakes were high. This delivery needed to be perfect.

The chief was one of those who had ordered Lemontoi Leonard Loontaye’s return so that mothers and children in the 30 Maasai villages around Naikarra could be treated by one of their own.

"I knew the call would come one day after completing my medical diploma so I didn’t hesitate when they sent the Moran to fetch me from another hospital," said Leonard. Photo ©Bradford Zak.
Leonard Loontaye, the clinic officer in-charge at Naikarra Medical Clinic, seen here using BandaGo on his laptop during a patient visit.

News that a chief had entrusted the birth of his child to scientific medicine was spreading like wildfire and would confirm the flourishing health of Maasai mothers and children being treated at Naikarra Medical Clinic.

A Maasai man is trailed by his daughter as he leaves home to take their cattle out to pasture. This is an example of the traffic Leonard encounters when he travels on his motorbike to treat patients in 30 villages around Naikarra.

“I treat and monitor expectant mothers in Maasai villages spread over more than 100km. Some are so deep in the hills that I’ve shown a few of the villagers how to take a pulse, listen to a fetus heartbeat, count contractions then give me the information by phone so I can tell them if it’s time to begin their journey to the clinic to give birth.

Lemontoi Leonard Loontaye, the clinical officer in-charge at Naikarra Medical Clinic, holding a baby he delivered at 3am on Friday December 1st, 2023. He said it was "a long wait" but was he able to dash home to shower and return to deliver another baby at 8am on the same day.

“From last month, we stopped counting at 37 births after 30 days because they just kept coming! We just entered the records in BandaGo and kept going! Each birth was a perfect delivery. We have not lost a single child or mother. We are so happy. The staff and all the villagers are so happy.

“Even when we feel exhausted by a few who are born after hours of labor and their counterparts then follow right on their heels, we’ve learnt to rush home to shower and change, then return to the clinic to help bring these little gifts into the world.”


While gathering this story, I suddenly lost all communication with Leonard. It was the day after he had spent an entire night in the clinic with a particularly difficult delivery. We had been texting back and forth throughout the night as he gave me updates and I cheered him on.

When he finally resurfaced I gobbled up his words like a thirsty antelope, and decided to share them with you.

“I got a really bad flu over the weekend after that night in maternity. I was in so much pain for 48 hours. It was pneumonia. The weather has been cold. But this is part of our job. I took medication and funny enough I was up in a very short time. I thank the Lord for healing. I was so happy to be back at work to help people again.”

In case you missed previous stories about Leonard, you can find them on our website: “A hero cannot exist in a vacuum,” “Spear guarded patients,” and “A Phone, a laptop and an old land rover.”

Glimpses into Maasai Life...

A Clinical Officer teaches Maasai Morans how to take a selfie

Lemontoi Leonard Loonyate, the clinical officer in-charge at Naikarra Medical Clinic, showing two former patients, Maasai Morans how to take a selfie. They visited him after their passing out ceremony to thank him for carrying out their circumcision operation. He has convinced some of the villages to send their Morans for circumcision at the clinic instead of using the traditional method which at times leads to death from bleeding.

A Maasai Boma

An aerial view of a Maasai boma. It is basically a combination homestead and barn. The buildings around the edges are mostly houses for each of the patriarch's wives, children, and in some cases younger siblings. The buildings are constructed out of cow manure and grass. The center is a pen where the livestock are kept at night to protect them from predators and theft. During the day the cattle will be taken out to graze, as is shown in this picture. The borders are living thorny hedges which they have cultivated into that shape. The entire boma is also surrounded by a hedge to keep out predators. Photo ©Reddit Pics.

Why Banda builds technology solutions for clinics without doctors

Only two of the 86 clinics that Banda Health works with have a medical doctor. The rest are staffed by clinical officers and nurses who make all of the diagnoses, prescribe and carry out all of the treatments, and balance all of the books.

Kenya has a total of 189,932 health workers for its 55 million people. 25,000 of these are clinical officers and their clinics are a lifeline to 38.6% of some of the poorest people in the world. (Sources: Kenya Clinical Officers Association (KECOA) & World Bank using IHBS/SSAPOV/GMD).

They cannot afford medical doctors fees including the cost of travel to reach doctors found in hospitals in large towns. The small medical clinics owned and run by clinical officers like Lemontoi Leonard Loontaye provide life saving primary healthcare where nothing else exists.

We have designed BandaGo specifically as a clinical management system for small medical clinics to use 21st century technology to address barriers to accessing good healthcare for those who live in remote distant rural villages and in slums.

Thanks to you, we can keep building health technology solutions that medics like Leonard and others use. We treasure your continued support because your giving is intrinsically woven into the fiber of every mother, child and patient treated in a small medical clinic that uses BandaGo software and proves that the poor don't have to live without good healthcare. Thank you for another year with Banda Health! Photo ©Tdh/Sandro Mahler.

$5000 helps us improve BandaGo and get it into one more clinic!

Photo credits: Maasai warrior ©Ferdinand Reus, Maasai mothers ©Job Mukuria, Maasai woman ties shuka by ©Bradford Zak, Baby on scale ©Tdh/Sandro Mahler, Farm in Africa ©Reddit Pics, all other photos ©Banda Health.

Kinya Kaunjuga

Kinya Kaunjuga

Kinya brings passion, an infectious laugh and 15 years of experience in the corporate and non-profit world to Banda Health. A Texas A&M alumni with a degree in Journalism and Economics, she says, "I love doing things that matter!"