NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27- The Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia says the government has identified increased awareness on reproductive health services as a key intervention to reducing maternal deaths by nearly 30 percent.,
Macharia said in addition to increasing budget allocations to the health sector, the government will educate communities on the importance of seeking healthcare services.
“In addition to what we are doing we are putting a lot of emphasis on enhancing awareness. There are some areas where by because of historic practices some of the ladies do not want to go to health facilities; such issues actually do impact quite materially. It is for this reason that the National Council for Population and Development must continue playing their key role in advocacy for family planning as the development agenda,” he said.
“We can only act on what we have counted, knowing where and why mothers and newborns are dying and this will trigger our response at all levels from the community to the national level.
Governors are also set to roll out awareness on family planning to help reduce maternal mortality. The exercise will be conducted across 15 counties with the high impact rate of maternal and newborn deaths within the next six months.
Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto says there is need for urgent attention to be given to reversing the trends of maternal mortalities through the provision of comprehensive sexual reproductive health services to every citizen.
“We are committed to improving the security of our contraceptive and reproductive health commodities and enhance community based family planning programs in order to promote child spacing. Together we can save the lives of our children.”
Ruto also championed devolution of health services, arguing that it would speed up improvements in the health sector.
“There can be no negotiation on the improvement on quality healthcare and as governors we shall strive to provide a safe environment for women to give birth safely at all our health centers. We are committed to maintaining the smooth running of our facilities and referral systems,” he said.
Kenya is however significantly off track of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) goal of a 75 percent reduction by 2015 but recently has seen a fall of more than eight percent a year, almost twice the MDG rate and enough to halve child mortality in a decade.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has expressed concern on the country’s attainment of the Millennium Development Goals saying that with less than 500 days remaining, the country was far from achieving the said goals.
Speaking at a consultative meeting with Governors on accelerating attainment of the MDGs, the First Lady urged the leaders and all stakeholders in the health sector to rally together towards reduction of maternal mortality.
“With less than 500 days remaining, Kenya is clearly off track to achieving the MDGs 4 and 5 on maternal and child health. Too many women and newborns are dying unnecessarily, most of these deaths are avoidable and indeed preventable,” she said.
“Reducing maternal and children deaths requires concerted multi-sectoral investments, hence the other social determinants that we must address include education especially of girls, gender equality, roads infrastructure, sanitation and clean water among many others,” she said.