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Maternal mortality rate still high in Kenya

05 June 2013, 17:35 Samuel Kisika

The Ministry of Health has stated that maternal mortality rate in the country remains high, and urged responsible stakeholders like the media, medical personnel, lawmakers and the civil society to advocate for its eradication.

Speaking during the National Maternal Prenatal Death and Surveillance Response (MPDSR) forum, Dr. Issak Bashir, the Head Division of Reproductive Health said that many expectant women are dying due to inadequate sensitization on neonatal health.

"The Maternal Mortality ratio in Kenya is estimated to be between 400 and 500 death per 100,000 live births and achieving the Millennium Development Goals on health remains a challenge lest it is properly addressed," said Bashir.

He added that globally, over 8 million women suffer pregnancy-related complications and over 500,000 women die. He however said that these deaths would be significantly curbed by dispatching the right kind of information to address the issue, followed by appropriate action.  

Bashir noted that delay in decision-making to seek health care due to ignorance of complications, false religious beliefs, sociocultural barriers to seeking health care as well as delay in reaching and receiving health care services contributes a lot to maternal deaths.

"Good quality maternal health services are not universally available and accessible to many expectant women and only 47% of them receive the recommended antenatal health care," said Bashir.

Bashir also said that the Ministry has established a functional Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system essential for detecting health problems, defining their magnitude, following trends over time and giving appropriate action.

He further noted that the Ministry has established and is going to set up more blood transfusion centres all over the districts in Counties to overcome the shortage of blood in health centres to reduce chances of death in the event of emergency.

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