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Efforts to reducing maternal mortality in Kisumu County have been raised a notch higher as the county Chief Officer for Health and Sanitation, Dr Gilbert Ganda unveils a new maternity ward at the Kisumu County Referral Hospital (KCRH).

The modern delivery room is now operational and the County Hospital now has spacious labour wards and a state-of-the-art newborn unit as the County seeks to improve delivery facilities. For deaths occurring in public county and sub-county health facilities, it is crucial to understand the processes of obstetric care in order to address any identified weakness or failure within the system and take corrective action.

According to Dr Gilbert Ganda, “the initiative is a milestone in the maternity department that will enable expecting mothers to give birth in a better environment.” Investment in maternal health facilities remains crucial as the Lake Region seeks affordable maternity services for both caesarean section and normal delivery.

The new KCRH ward and a baby unit are equipped with modern facilities like incubators, defibrillator respirators, resuscitators and baby cots. It has some 28 maternity beds and more than three delivery rooms.

Private hospitals that have invested in maternal services in Kisumu include Aga Khan Hospital, Milimani Hospital, Jalaram Nursing Home, Marie Stopes Kenya Maternity Home and Avenue Hospital. According to Caroline Gichana, KCRH nurse in charge, “the maternity unit will play a key role in helping pregnant women in the last stage of gestation.”

She said healthcare professionals are available to attend to mothers and their children. “We provide quality level 4 ultrasound using the latest technology for early detection of fetal anomalies.”

Kenya has some of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world. According to World Bank, for every 100,000 live births, approximately 510 women lose their lives during pregnancy and childbirth. Kisumu is among the counties with the highest maternal mortality rate with 495 mothers dying for every 100,000 births.

The cost for motherhood is still sky high especially in private hospitals and private wings with a charge range of up-to Kshs 150,000 for normal delivery and Kshs 280,000 for CS. Since the onset of devolution, mothers had been forced to deliver in crowded old buildings. Antenatal clinic diagnostic procedures, post-natal care and follow up has had been done in temporary buildings.

The County Government has been working to lower the cost of maternity services in county hospitals with lower admission charges, room charges, midwife delivery packages, operating theatre charges and so on all aimed at strengthening maternal healthcare. According to USAID, Kisumu exceeds the national average in use of antenatal care, delivery in a health facility, and postnatal care, but not other indicators.

Author: ibrahim

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