NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – Africa Medical and Research Foundation and Chase Bank Foundation have announced a partnership to train 1,500 midwives in Kenya to curb maternal mortality.
AMREF Head of Programmes Mette Kinoti said the expectant mothers in the rural areas find it hard to access health care as compared to those in the urban set up.
“Just like any other medical profession the challenges are biggest in the rural areas and the longest distances to facilities that have midwives are in the rural areas.”
“This is the reason why we need to increase the number of midwives that we have in the rural areas,” Kinoti explained.
Kinoti also disclosed that they have further nominated one of the midwives they have trained for a Nobel Peace Prize for her exemplary support of expectant mothers.
“We have also proposed an African midwife from the rural Uganda for her tremendous contribution in the fight against maternal mortality,” she added.
A survey conducted jointly by the government and Non-Governmental Organisations has revealed that maternal deaths cost families a third of their annual income.
According to Lead Researcher with the Kenya Medical Research Institute Frank Odhiambo, the death of the women causes economic disruption as it limits the family sources of income.
“There is significant amount of activity that is performed by the mother, which then has to be taken up by the people that are left behind.”
“Economic activities of the other household members are greatly affected and this reduces the income and in some cases resulting in no income at all,” Odhiambo explained.
The survey also disclosed that most of the respondents are forced to borrow money or sell property to meet the high costs that they incur.
Odhiambo added that children left behind following the deaths are often forced to drop out of school due to financial constraints.
“The younger children are affected because their care is disrupted. Usually they have to go live with their grandmothers or mothers-in-law for feeding and care.”
“Older children are also affected as they at times are forced to drop out of schools due to financial constraints or take care of the younger ones who are left behind,” he added.
Key in their recommendations was the call for government support by providing financial solutions to families that are faced with maternal health crisis.