The survival and health of mothers is essential to the well-being of the entire family – children who lose their mothers are five times more likely to die in infancy that those who do not.
Healthy children, meanwhile, are more likely to benefit from educational opportunities and grow into productive adults according to the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, MamaYe and OAYouth organisations who have launched a 3 week campaign ‘Whatever your political colour’ to urge political leaders to prioritize maternal and new born health in their political agenda ahead of the August General Elections.
The 3-week campaign comes at a time political leaders seeking elective positions are traversing the country wooing voters, the campaign urges all political leaders seeking political offices to keep their promises to mothers and newborns by: Making sure resources are available to provide quality healthcare to them.
Further, it urges Kenyans to vote in leaders who have committed to prioritize the health of mothers and newborns in their agenda and those who have committed to be held accountable to the same after being elected in their respective positions.
Maternal and newborn mortality in Kenya remains a major concern for citizens especially mothers. 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.
“We could still save the over 8000 mothers and 40000 newborns who currently die each year in Kenya from pregnancy and childbirth related causes. The status quo is not good enough. Commitments made must be delivered; that is why Kenyans must vote in leaders who prioritize this serious issue and are ready to be held accountable for the same post August 8th, said WRA Kenya, Executive Director Angela Nguku.
“Most of these maternal and newborn deaths are preventable”, said MamaYe National Coordinator, Koki Kyalo. “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.”
The Government of Kenya has promised improvement in the health sector. The government announced a zero cost for mothers giving birth in public health Facilities. However, the sector is still struggling to implement this directive. The recent doctors and nurses strike has been a proof that more mothers continue to die helplessly in pregnancy and childbirth.
According to KDHS 2014, adolescent reproductive health outcomes remained poor due to the countrys inability to address their sexual and reproductive health needs contributing to the high maternal deaths. Teenage pregnancy is highly associated with high maternal and newborn deaths. It is not only a reproductive health issue but an all rounded issue and it directly affects the current and future socioeconomic wellbeing of the country. This situation must not remain the same; Leaders at all levels must address it to save the future generation, “said Michael Asudi of OAYouth
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.
“Ours is one call, the safety of our mothers and newborns must be in your agenda, It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to, whatever your political Party colours, let’s save mothers and newborns. They are Kenya’s future” said WRA Kenya Executive Director Angela Nguku.
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood unites citizens to demand the right to a safe birth for every woman, everywhere. MamaYe’s vision is that Africa’s mothers and babies survive pregnancy and childbirth. OAYouth works to inspire, unify and empower local youth in the development agenda.