Experts warn of high maternal deaths in Mandera as the county gov’t continuously improve the situation
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MANDERA—In every 100,000 live births in Mandera County, about 3,795 woman die annually. The figures are above the recorded preventable deaths in wartime Sierra Leone and the neighbouring Somalia.
Writing on the Huffington Post, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative in Kenya, Siddharth Chartterjee and the Director of Medical Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Nicholas Muraguri, decried the maternal deaths in the county while noting the improvements made in curbing the menace across the country in general.
“Although Kenya has overall made tremendous progress in improving maternal health, some sub-regions remain among the 10 most risky places in the world for women to give birth. The impact is most felt in remote and hard to reach places like, Mandera County where for every 100,000 live births, about 3,795 women die every year,” they wrote.
They continued: “Documented challenges to maternal and child health in Kenya arise from a complex interplay of social, cultural, economic and logistical barriers, coupled with under-resourced facilities and a high fertility rate.”
Immediately after he was sworn-in to office in March 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta rolled out a free maternity care policy to arrest the situation. The policy was not practically helpful as underdeveloped areas in the country, particularly Northern Kenya grapples with an acute shortage of medical facilities.
The First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta launched the Beyond Zero campaign aimed at scaling up prenatal and post-natal health care across the country. As a result of the campaign, deliveries under the care of health workers have increased from 44 percent to 61 percent.
Speaking last year after the first ever caesarian section at Takaba Sub county Hospital, the governor of Mandera, Cpt., Ali Roba said his administration was addressing the health situation, adding that improvements have been made.
“The county has for so long lacked trained birth attendants and lack of, or poorly equipped health facilities,” he noted. He said only 10 out of 52 health facilities were operational when he took office but have since been renovated and are fully operational. “The county government has employed 265 trained health personnel, increasing the number by 200 per cent,”
“Delivery in a fully equipped health facility can dramatically reduce maternal mortality by an estimated 90 per cent, that’s where we want to get eventually,” Roba said.