Maternal and newborn mortality in Kenya remains a major concern for citizens especially mothers. 2015 statistics by the World Health Organisation indicated that women in Kenya have a 1 in 42 lifetime risk of dying from a pregnancy related cause.
A new campaign, “Whatever your political colours” has been launched to urge political leaders to prioritise maternal and newborn health in their Political agenda and be accountable to it after the 8th August General Elections.
The 3 week campaign comes at a time political leaders seeking elective positions are traversing the country wooing voters. Run by E4A-Mama Ye, OAYouth and the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, the campaign urges all political leaders seeking political office to keep their promises to mothers and newborns, making sure resources are available to provide quality healthcare to them. The campaign further urges Kenyans to only vote in leaders who have promised to prioritise the health of mothers and newborns in their agenda, and who have committed to be held accountable to the same after being elected in their respective positions.
The Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) 2014 estimates that Kenya loses 8000 mothers and 40000 newborns each year despite the many commitments that the country has made towards reducing the same. This translates to 22 mothers and 111 newborns dying each day from preventable causes and this is just unacceptable.
“We could still save the over 8,000 mothers and 40,000 newborns who currently die each year in Kenya from pregnancy and childbirth related causes. The status quo is not good enough. Commitments made must be delivered; that is why Kenyans must vote in leaders who prioritise this serious issue and are ready to be held accountable for the same post August 8th", said WRA Kenya, Executive Director Angela Nguku
“Most of these maternal and newborn deaths are preventable”, said E4A-Mama Ye National Coordinator, Koki Kyalo. “Women and newborns are more likely to survive if they give birth in a health facility and if health workers have the skills, supplies and equipment they need to provide good quality care”.
The Government of Kenya has promised improvement in the health sector. The government announced a zero cost for mothers giving birth in public health centres. However, the sector is still struggling to implement this directive. The recent doctors and nurses strike has been a proof that more mothers continue to die helplessly in pregnancy and child birth.
Kenya Vision 2030 aims to reduce the Maternal Mortality Ratio to 113 per 100,000 live births by 2030, that means a reduction of two thirds in the number of women dying currently while giving life. This will only be achieved if adequate resources are allocated and used to improve maternal and newborn health and if leaders and citizens play their roles effectively, starting during the forthcoming elections.
"Ours is one call, the safety of our mothers and newborns must be in your agenda, It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to, whatever your political Party colors, lets save mothers and newborns. They are Kenya’s future” said Michael Asudi of OAYouth.
Kenyan's young and old, please urge your political leaders to prioritise maternal and newborn health in their Political agenda and be accountable to it after the 8th August General Elections.