EVERY KENYAN MOTHER COUNTS

Every Mother Counts is a US based organization, an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal and child health..The organization was started by a former supermodel who after her own experience of giving birth with complications decided to bring greater awareness to the issue by directing and co-producing No Woman, No Cry, a documentary about maternal health. The film tells the compelling stories of at-risk pregnant women in four parts of the world (Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala and the United States).

Kenya does not boast of such a body and it is left to the press to highlight such incidences.Our country also has no safe motherhood program , this needs to change seeing the rising levels of maternal deaths

This coming June will be four years since i lot a friend Nelly during childbirth.We had been in boarding school together,went to the same all girls high school and even ended up at the same university doing the same undergraduate course.Often we ended up doing the same odd jobs to earn some extra cash,like when we worked at an international surveyors meeting in 2002 that was held at the Kenya school of Monetary studies.After university we both ended up getting the same jobs a nutritionists for NGO’s and would occasionally bump into each other and do some catching up.We shared some common friends and more often than not we would both attend the same weddings because of this.

In the first week of 2008,i lost a dear aunt in some puzzling scenarios at a private hospital in Embu and just a week after we laid her to rest i was informed of Nelly’s tragic passing just an year after her wedding.Oftentimes it seems hard to imagine she went in such a manner,bringing life to the world.This baby she had carried and nurtured in her womb he would not be able to suckle at her breast,never know the joy of the word “mama”,never get to cuddle her,never see her first milestones,it was unbelievable!What was even more astounding was the fact that she was in one of the private hospitals in Nairobi where you would imagine no expense would be spared to save her life,tragically this never happened and she became just a statistic in the many cases of maternal deaths happening in the country today.

Kenyan doctors recently launched a campaign to have the government avail a drug misoprostol that is aid to be 95% effective in reducing bleeding.The online publication of medicalkenya reports that the drug is frequently used for unintended purposes such as abortions if taken by a pregnant woman it induce abortions.It goes on to say that bleeding after birth contributes to about 20-30% of all maternal deaths and if licensed the drug which trades as cyotec could help curb maternal deaths.

Kenya has had national campaigns to fight malaria,pneumonia,TB and HIV/AIDS but with the rising numbers of maternal deaths being reported in many hospitals whether government or private there needs to action and fast to save a growing number of Kenyan women,most of them in their prime losing their lives as they bring forth new life.Reading some of the stories carried on news media ,you wonder if we are lacking in medical practitioners,whether it is a case of negligence or maybe we do not have enough capabilities to cope with this growing trend.

A council member of the Kenya Obstetrical and Gynecological Society Dr Joseph Karanja was quoted in a news item by the medicalkenya publication as saying that Kenya losses 7000 women annually to pregnancy related complication.Those are too many women to be losing over what has been said to be 90% preventable causes.

Maybe it is time the Ministries of Public Health and Medical Services put their heads together and came up with an audited report of how many trained and qualified gynecologist and obstetricians are available for every 100 women in Kenya.AM sure the statistics will be shocking because all too often i have heard of mothers in rural area giving birth at home with no specialized medical care whatsoever.

If we are not able to guarantee the safety of every mother who walks into a hospital to give birth,we will soon have a growing number of children without mothers.The medical practitioners board also needs to give an independent and unbiased report on why deaths have been reported even in hospitals with trained staff , well equipped theaters and drugs to prevent occurrences such as these.Is it a case of lack of medical personnel or lack of ethics where doctors are choosing bank balances over the lives of human beings?This kind of reports should not be heard of in a country that is seeking to achieve Vision 2030.

Once a detailed report has been given then it will be easier to pinpoint the reasons why so many newborns are losing their mothers at birth.With these outlined then both the government and medical practitioners can put in place measures and strategies to see that another story like Nelly’s that will not happen to another child,husband,mother or father ever again.

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