Evidence is key for maternal and perinatal deaths advocacy

A 2014 report by UNFPA ranked Bungoma as the County with the 8th highest burden or maternal deaths in Kenya. Many of these deaths were and still are, preventable.

View the 2014 UNFPA Report here.

The estimated Maternal Mortality Rate in Bungoma is 488 deaths per 100,000 facility based births against the national rate of 362. The Neonatal Mortality Rate is also high at 22, in comparison to the national rate of 19 deaths per 1,000 births (KDHS, 2014 and DHIS 2015).

Further analysis of Ministry of Health data, revealed that among the direct causes of maternal deaths, 50% were caused by post-partum haemorrhage, 25% were due to infections, 13% due to eclampsia and 6% were caused by obstructed labour. Anaemia also contributed indirectly to the deaths of more than two-thirds of these cases. 

These lives could have been saved through the provision of quality antenatal and maternity care and community commitment to enabling women to access this care.  There is an urgent need to act, to support the Bungoma health system and communities across the County to save maternal and newborn lives. 

Fortunately, the devolved system of governance in Kenya provides an opportunity for increased local-level authority in decision-making, resource allocation and management of health care with local governance structures, politicians and senior county officials in the Ministry of Health being centrally involved. However, a review of expert analysis reveals that Kenya's health sector is heavily underfunded and there is less commitment to increase the proportion of government funds allocated to the health sector. This cripples interventions meant to strenghten maternal health and newborn survival.

Evidence for Action (E4A) Mama Ye has now launched in Kenya, including work in Bungoma County to address these challenges and to advocate for increased investments to ensure that the number of preventable maternal and neonatal dealths in Kenya is reduced. Our catalytic programme seeks to achieve focussed advocacy for health financing using properly packaged evidence maternals directed at politicians and devision makers who we are asking to take action to increase resource allocation into the health of all Kenyans. Investment in high impact interventions including neonatal resucitation, kangaroo mother care, clean delivery practices and immediate essential newborn care could help save the lives of newborns and prevent stillbirths.

It is essential for us to target key Ministry of Health officials, political players and budget making committees of the County Assembly of Bungoma to achieve good quality of care for mothers and babies.

E4A-Mama Ye collaborates with Civil Society Organisations, media and individual champions. Our approach is to change fatalism to hope; apathy to action; maternal survival from side-issues to political priority; and best guesses into hard facts. In collaboration with Maternal and Newborn Health Improvement (MANI) project, at E4A-Mama Ye we generate evidence from Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response, from family planning dashboards, and RMNCH scorecards in Bungoma County to influence more funding for the maternal and newborn health.

Ahead of Kenya's upcoming election on 8th August E4A-Mama Ye is also partnering with WRA Kenya and OAYouth to ask our national leaders, whatever their political colours, to keep mothers and babies at the heart of their political agenda. They are Kenya's future.

Be part of Kenya's future. Join us! 

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