Maternal mortality rate

An international health scientist on Friday urged Kenya to embrace partnership and awareness creation to end the increasing maternal deaths.

Marleen Temmerman, director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Medical College of Aga Khan University in East Africa said that the country’s maternal mortality rate (MMR) is high, with 488 deaths per every 100,000 live births per year.

“Partnership with multi-stakeholders is required to fund maternal health services including employment of skilled health providers,” Temmerman said in Nairobi during a symposium on maternal health, hosted by Aga Khan University, Kenya’s Ministry of Health and the University of California.

She attributed the high rates of maternal deaths in the country to preventable causes that could be avoided if the mother is managed at a health facility by a qualified health professional.

The scientist said that despite the country making progress in the provision of health care, especially for declaring free maternity services, the efforts are not enough to fix the health problems hence the need for awareness creation.

“Cases such as those caused by obstructed labor, complications due to unsafe abortion, infections, hemorrhage and high blood pressure can be avoided,” she added.

The symposium focused on the challenges, solutions and recommendations that exist to improve the quality of maternal health care services for women in Kenya.

Temmerman called on the government to improve road infrastructure since statistics indicate that the majority of women (56 percent) give birth at home where some succumb to death due to poor roads.

“The delay to get to health facilities due to bad roads and a further delay to receive attention from health personnel is equally leading to early deaths of expectant women,” she added.

The scientists observed that maternal health promotion sessions still need to be conducted within communities to end teenage pregnancy that is also on the rise in recent years.

Sheikh Mohamed, head of family health at Ministry of Health said in the symposium that Kenya aims at scaling up quality of care interventions that should lead to a 50 percent reduction in facility-based deaths of mothers and neonates over the coming five years.

Mohamed said that despite Kenya making progress in maternal and newborn health, there are plans to focus on the quality of services in order to achieve a vision of “every woman and every child thrive movement”. Enditem

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  1. I am a British trained ObGyn. I have visited Kenya many times. I would suggest that the maternal mortality can be tomorrow by interpreting Article 26(IV) of the Constitution permitting safe abortion where “a
    trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health the trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health’ in the way that the WHO interprets health. “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The General Medical Council in Thailand, affirmed this definition as applying to a previously restrictive abortion law. As a result no doctor has been accused of breaking the law when performing a safe abortion.

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