, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – Fifty six percent of Kenyan women deliver with the aid of unskilled birth attendants while only ten percent of those who deliver in the presence of a trained health worker attend post natal care.
Public Health Minister Beth Mugo said on Saturday that the statistics indicated the likely reason for the high maternal/infant mortality rates in the country.
She added that although the country was rated among the 13 African countries that had a maternal mortality ratio of less than 500 deaths per 100,000 live births, there was still need for the country to scale up her intervention measures and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“We are losing not more than 500 mothers per year so that tells us how badly off our MDGs four and five are. And although we are rated among the best, we have slowed down and are not realising our MDGs which have been a bit of a problem,” she said.
Mrs Mugo also said that the government had so far embarked on the construction of model health centers for every constituency equipped with both maternal and child wards as an intervention measure.
“During the budget the Finance Minister gave a stimulus package to promote child and maternal health by constructing a health center for each constituency. The government also planned to employ 4,200 nurses which translates to 20 nurses per constituency,” she said.
Mrs Mugo who was speaking at the launch of ‘Mama’s Million Shillings Campaign’ in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund and its private sector partners (aimed at mobilising funds to facilitate quality health care for women) also added that the government was yet to recruit all the nurses as promised.
“We have already employed 3,800 and have 400 more to employ. The reason why we have not yet finalised this is because each constituency was to recruit at community level because we thought if they were recruited in their own constituencies then they wouldn’t move to other areas,” she said.
She also noted that although the government launched the Domiciliary Midwifery programme in 2006 to support women who preferred child delivery within their homes, the programme had not been successful.
“This was an initiative through which the Ministry provides delivery kits and commodities to health professionals or midwifes who had retired form the Public Service to help them assist women in their respective areas during child birth. Although it hasn’t been successful it can be strengthened through additional resources to motivate the retired midwives,” she said.
The Minister also called for concerted efforts between the government and the private sector to engage in campaigns aimed at reducing maternal deaths.
Others involved in the Mama’s Million Shilling Campaign were the Imperial Bank and the Village Market.
On Saturday, Kenindia Assurance, Mumias Sugar Company, Chandaria Trust and Sunil Shah Foundation each gave a Sh100,000 donation while APA Insurance Company and DHL Kenya gave Sh50,000 and Sh45,000 respectively.
The Imperial Bank which aims to raise Sh5 million has so far raised Sh3 million.