Kenya winning in maternity health

Currently Maternal deaths have dropped from 488 deaths per 100,000 live births to 362 currently. With more than 62 per cent of expectant mothers receiving skilled medical care, records from the Health ministry indicate Maternal mortality rates have declined in the country .

The statistics link the decline to First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s Beyond Zero initiative and the Linda Mama program spearheaded by the ministry in recent years.

The decline in maternal deaths has been attributed to the fact that over 50 per cent of mothers in the country receive post-natal care.

Sustained immunizations, revamped efforts in the fight against malaria, HIV and Aids and eradication of polio and other communicable diseases that affect children and women have also contributed to the decrease.

Over a decade ago, maternal mortality rate remained high in Kenya, at between 400-600 deaths per 100,000 live births.

According to the World Health Organisation, Kenya is among the 10 countries that comprised 58 per cent of the global maternal deaths in 2013.

Maternal deaths vary with geographic regions in Kenya. The 2009 analysis of census data had the highest maternal mortality reported in North Eastern (2,014 per 100,000 live births), followed by Nyanza (546 per 100,000 live births) with Nairobi recording the lowest maternal rate (212 per 100,000 live births).

Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki notes that a lot needs to be done to ensure all deliveries are handled by skilled health workers.

The national government, through the Health ministry, is now seeking to partner with donors to empower county governments to reduce deaths during childbirth.

According to the statistics, the ministry targets critical health services like family planning, antenatal care, skilled attendance during labour and delivery and postnatal care.

According to Ms Kariuki, the ministry seeks to increase access to care, ensure sustainable financing to strengthen health systems and expand access to quality family planning options.

This is very encouraging news and thanks to the government initiative in conjunction with First Lady beyond zero campaign more mothers will be able to give birth and live together with their infants.

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