“It is unacceptable that in Kenya, 15 mothers and 296 children below 5 years of age die every day largely from preventable causes” – A Strategic Framework for Engagement of the First Lady in HIV Control and Promotion of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Kenya 2013-2017
Few months back in June the world celebrated the Anniversary of the Child Survival Call to Action, when the world came together to craft a global goal to end preventable child deaths by 2035. All told, from 1990 to 2012, the total number of child deaths fell by 48% from 12.6 million to 6.6 million. In the last 20 years, nearly 100 million child lives have been spared, and the rate at which mortality is declining continues to accelerate.
Whilst the world celebrates reduction in maternal and neo-natal deaths since the 90’s, the figures still remain high in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
In Kenya, 5500 women die every year due to pregnancy and its complications. Sadly, this is a trend that has remained largely unchanged over the last 20 years.
With regard to children, in 2012, over 100,000 children (below 5 years) died a majority before reaching their first birthday. (A Strategic Framework for Engagement of the First Lady in HIV Control and Promotion of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Kenya, 2013- 2017)
“There is simply no good reason why thousands of women and children in Kenya should die during child birth today” say Cabinet Secretary for Health, Mr. James W. Macharia.
As a Kenyan society we should join hands together to strengthen the health systems. Whilst enshrined in our constitution in Article 43(1) that guarantees every individual the highest attainable standard of health which is important to the realization of the right to life, it is important that each of us plays a role in ensuring that this goal becomes attainable.
Kenya NGO’s Alliance Against Malaria in a new paradigm whilst addressing its main goal of a malaria free Kenya has expanded its tentacles to also address issues on child and maternal health.
“We can just treat malaria in children and let them die of other child related complications,” said the CEO, Mr. Edward Mwangi.
In Global fund round 10, KeNAAM has used the kitty to not only train the community units on addressing matters of Malaria but has also expanded to train the Cus on importance of maternal and neonatal care. This according to Miriam Mbone, KeNAAM field officer in Kuria is bearing fruits and is helping communities in the region address a problem that has existed in the area for a long time.
Similar sentiments are shared by Getongoroma CHEW Mr. James Igayi who says since KeNAAM started its programs on training the CHWs on the ANC and Maternal health programs, their has been great improvement in the number of mothers attending the ANC clinic which was not the case in past years.
It is African to say, a child belongs to society, thus its cared for by society. Thus it is prudent that if the fight against maternal and neonatal deaths is to be won and the statistics to be reduced, everybody should become involved.
Knowledge is power, so the saying goes. An informed people is a reformed people. The more information is shared among the people on the importance of ANC care and post natal care, the less the number of children dying before their fifth birthday. The vision in the KHSP is only attainable and achievable if everybody takes a role in addressing the issue and not only viewing it as a role for the government or the non-governmental organizations to take up.
Doctors are people who help others have a better tomorrow, once a man told me. Being a better a neighbor and creating a better world is everyones responsibility, as is creating a better society for tomorrow’s generation; the children.
“Children are our future; their mothers are its custodians.”