Maternal Healthcare Must Be at the Forefront of the Agenda No Matter Our Political Affiliation
Becoming a parent is a life changing journey, and this is especially true for mothers who experience pregnancy. Pregnancy takes a toll physically and emotionally and can be life threatening especially as the delivery date approaches. This is why a country’s healthcare system and policies must be up to the task to make sure that mothers do not unnecessarily lose their lives or their babies. Kenya’s statistics when it comes to maternal and newborn mortality are unfortunately not great and should be a concern to us all.
Article 43(1)(a) states that: ‘Every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to healthcare services, including reproductive health care.’ Free maternal healthcare in all public hospitals took effect on June 1st 2013 and was in a bid to reduce maternal mortality in the country. Maternal mortality is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.
2015 statistics by the World Health Organization indicated that women in Kenya have a 1 in 42 lifetime risk of dying from a pregnancy related cause. 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.
The reality is even worse for teen mothers with teenage preganacy highly associated with high maternal and newborn deaths. According to KDHS 2014, adolescent reproductive health outcomes remained poor due to the country’s inability to address their sexual and reproductive health needs. The status quo is simply not good enough.
Can we save the over 8,000 mothers and 40,000 newborns who currently die each year in Kenya from pregnancy and childbirth related causes? Most of these deaths are preventable as it has been proven that women and newborns are more likely to survive if mothers give birth in a health facility and if health workers have the skills, supplies and equipment they need to provide good quality care.
Kenya Vision 2030 aims to reduce Maternal Deaths 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.
A new campaign, “Whatever your political colours” run by the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, MamaYe and OAYouth has been launched to urge political leaders to prioritize maternal and newborn health in their Political agenda and be accountable to it after the 8th August General Elections.
Citizens must demand the right to a safe birth for every woman, everywhere and hold all political leaders to account no matter what political party they belong to as this is an agenda that must be at the forefront of everyone’s agenda.http://www.mwendengao.com/2017/07/05/maternal-healthcare-must-forefront-agenda-no-matter-political-affiliation/LifestyleKenya,Mamaye,Maternal Healthcare,maternal mortality,OAYouth,safe motherhood,White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood