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4700 Kenyan Women Die At Childbirth

May 5th 2011- This story centers on the problem women face when giving birth, As Antony Aisi illustrates,  Kenya’s maternal mortality and morbidity rate continues at an unacceptably high rate and level.

In a country where over 50% live on less then 1$ a day and a quarter live in extreme poverty, the poorer you are the more likely you are to die giving birth.

Find out how the situation is


4700 Kenyan Women Die At Childbirth


Maternal mortality refers to those deaths which are caused by complications due to pregnancy or childbirth. These complications may be felt during pregnancy or delivery, or may occur up to 42 days following childbirth.

For each woman who succumbs to maternal death, many more will suffer injuries, infections, and disabilities brought about by pregnancy or childbirth complications, such as obstetric fistula.

Maternal mortality and disability can be curbed with appropriate health interventions. Some of the direct medical causes of maternal mortality include hemorrhage or bleeding, infection, abortion, hypertensive disorders, and obstructed labor, ectopic pregnancy, embolism, and anesthesia-related risks.

Medical Reports highlight that, over 500,000 women and girls die because of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth each year. Surprisingly 99 percent of those deaths occur in developing countries such as Kenya

For every woman or girl who dies as a result of pregnancy-related causes, between 20 and 30 may will develop short- and long-term disabilities, much as obstetric fistula, or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Kenya’s maternal mortality and morbidity rate continues at an unacceptably high rate and level. While maternal mortality figures vary widely by source and are highly controversial, the best estimates for Kenya suggest that approximately 14,700 women and girls die each year due to pregnancy-related complications.

‘Kenya has a moderate national policy on safe motherhood. The ratings suggest that women and babies, overall, have reasonable access to some types of services, including newborn care and family planning (e.g., pills, intrauterine device insertion)’ Maternal and neonatal program index report outlined.

The tragedy and opportunity, is that most of these deaths can be prevented with cost-effective health attention. Reducing maternal mortality and disability will depend on identifying and improving those services that are critical to the health of community women and girls, including antenatal care, emergency obstetric care, and adequate postpartum care for mothers, babies, family planning and STI/HIV/AIDS services.

There are also Conditions such as anemia, diabetes, malaria, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and others which can also increase a woman’s risk for complications during pregnancy and childbirth, but they are indirect causes of maternal mortality and morbidity this is because most maternal deaths occur during delivery and during the postpartum period, emergency obstetric care, skilled birth attendants, postpartum care, and transportation to medical facilities if complications arise are all necessary components of strategies to reduce maternal mortality.

There is an urge or efforts to take special steps to increase the availability of improved services and for maternal morbidity reduction to the society level. While doing this the people doing this must bear in mind of barrier or challenges being undergone by women e.g. limited educational level by our rural women and girls, poor nutrition, and lack of decision making power which also contribute to adverse pregnancy outcomes. There are also policies, which require a woman to first seek permission from her husband or parents, which may also discourage women and girls from seeking needed health care services.

Customs and Traditional practices also affect maternal health outcomes including early marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM). Many women in sub-Saharan Africa marry before the age of 20. Pregnancies in adolescent girls, whose bodies are still sprouting and developing, put both the mothers and their babies at risk for negative health consequences.

The repercussions of maternal mortality and morbidity are felt not only by women but also by their families and communities. Children who lose their mothers are at an increased risk for death or other problems, such as malnutrition. Loss of women during their most productive years also means a loss of resources for the entire society.

For health care programs to improve maternal health it must be supported by strong policies, adequate training of health care providers and logistical services that facilitate the provision of those programs. Once maternal and neonatal programs and policies are in place, all women and girls must be ensured equal access to the full range of services

To ensure safe motherhood it requires recognizing and supporting the rights of women and girls to lead healthy lives in which they have control over the resources and decisions that impact their health and safety. It requires raising awareness of complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth, providing access to high quality health services.

Story Written By Anthony Aisi


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