, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 14 – 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 revenue.
“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.
The survey which was conducted in Western Kenya focusing on 59 cases of maternal death also recommended that the government create more awareness on the importance of pre natal care.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is currently undertaking a maternal health campaign dubbed Beyond Zero which is aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality.
The Beyond Zero campaign’s aim is to eradicate maternal and infant mortality; an end the First Lady hopes to achieve by ensuring expectant mothers, the children they carry and infants do not lose their lives for lack of health care.
Through both the First Lady’s Half Marathon and the London Marathon, Margaret Kenyatta hopes to raise about Sh500 million, of which she has raised Sh200 million so far.
Also acquired were 47 mobile clinics, one for each county, as part of the campaign.
Cabinet secretary for Health James Macharia said the campaign will complement Government efforts in reducing child mortality and maternal deaths.
He said the free maternal child health which has been implemented all over the country has helped increase deliveries at health centers from 44 percent to 66 percent