Maternal and Child health: What are you Doing?

The situation on maternal and child health today is neither encouraging nor is it reflective of the individual constitutional right to life and right to the highest attainable standard of health.

According to the MDG goals, Kenya is still off track on MDG 4 (reduce child mortality by 2/3) and MDG 5 (Reduce Maternal Mortality Ratio by 75% and achieve universal access to reproductive health).

Some of the leading causes of maternal mortality and illnesses include hemorrhage, hypertension disorders, infections, obstructed labor, severe bleeding, malaria and anemia.

Most of these are actually preventable and treatable, albeit with information and access to quality health services. The recommended number of antenatal care visits when a woman is pregnant is 4 and above. 92% of women do get these services at some point during pregnancy, but only 47% of these actually get the 4 or more visits. As at 2010, 56% of women delivered at home, with only 44% of these having been attended to by a healthcare professional.

When such situations are highlighted to the public, sometimes through TV documentaries and news special features, some actually ask the question, “Do we live in the same Kenya?”….

The answer is “Yes, we live in the same Kenya, the difference is that you have easier access to health care services, you have access to finances that can pay for whatever services you want, you are more educated so you know how important healthcare is to you and your family”.

Same thing applies to the health situation of children under 5 years of age. Every year, millions of children under 5 years are lost to preventable and treatable diseases. The leading causes of infant mortality are pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria, while malnutrition contributes to 1/3 of all children deaths. Some die due to neonatal like preterm births and severe infections. These could actually be saved if delivery was done in a healthcare facility and If the mothers were also informed enough to know how important healthcare services are to them and their children as well. Socioeconomic status plays a major role too, so poverty is a big obstacle in this fight.

The question I ask Today is this: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

There are several initiatives put across to help remedy this situation. People have every opportunity to contribute in the fight against maternal and child deaths, in any way they can. Don’t watch from the sides as your fellow Kenyans suffer in dire conditions like this; BE PART OF THE CHANGE.





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