We were alarmed by high maternal mortality rates in Kenya. In a study conducted by KEMRI/CDC Field Research Station, the country’s figures are alarmingly high at 488/100,000 but even more shocking was Kakamega county reporting maternal mortality of about double the national figure – 800 per 100,000 live births!
Therefore maternal mortality remains a major public health challenge that should be dealt with. And so, it is our current project.
Hospital based studies suggest that the majority of these deaths are due to obstetric complications including haemorrhage, sepsis, and eclampsia, obstructed labour and unsafe abortion.
Despite recent policy efforts to promote safe motherhood and target the key causes of maternal deaths, maternal mortality remains high in Kenya especially in rural areas where women have difficulty accessing skilled delivery services and life-saving emergency obstetric care.
Presently, majority of Kenyan women – 58%, still deliver at home without a skilled birth attendant and subsequently without access to emergency obstetric care services.
Providing women with efficient and cost-effective innovation for safe delivery at the community level will greatly improve the status of maternal health in Kenya.
In a country like Kenya with a serious human resource crisis and the majority of the population living in rural areas with limited access to health care services, the utilization of retired nurse midwives to provide skilled delivery services can significantly reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality.
The Millennium development goals 4 and 5 which focus on reducing child mortality and maternal mortality rates by 2/3 and 3/4 respectively by the year 2015 are off-track and unlikely to be achieved by 2015.
Kenya therefore has to embrace more innovative strategies that can improve maternal and newborn health, and reduce the high maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality rates.
Advocacy for policy change in Kakamega County in order to include retired nurse midwives in skilled delivery services for the reduction of maternal mortality at community level is one such innovation that will increase skilled deliveries at community and reduce mortality rates.
The goal of this project is to advocate for policy change in order to include retired nurse midwives in skilled delivery services for the reduction of maternal and newborn mortality at community level. This change will serve as a compliment to facility-based obstetric care and will increase skilled deliveries at community level.
The project is being implemented in Kakamega County (one of the counties in Kenya with poor maternal health indicators) which reflects the situation in other counties with similar settings.
Retired nurse midwives act as critical resource for communities where home delivery rates are high.
Retired Nurse Midwives, if given the necessary support, will provide a source of life saving for women who deliver at home.
Key decision makers within the county have been targeted to push the policy change agenda. A baseline survey was conducted which provides evidence to inform policy and decision makers at county level. These include: County Reproductive Health officers, National Nurses, National Reproductive Health Members of County Assembly whom we hope will push the agenda to the National level to advance support for community skilled birth attendance services by retired midwives. We look forward to the success of this project being expanded and replicated to other rural counties with similar settings.
For more details, please contact us.