In an op-ed in The Star, the Center’s Senior Technical Adviser Betty Odallo proposes several policies to improve the maternal mortality rate in Kenya. Currently, Kenya has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world: a recent World Health Organization report shows about 7,000 Kenyan women die every year from pregnancy-related causes, and those from low-income backgrounds and with lower levels of education are the most affected.
To combat these dire mortality rates, Odallo argues that all pregnant people in Kenya need access to high-quality antenatal care, well-equipped health facilities, and competent health professionals, including midwives. She proposes several policies to be anchored on the Constitution and the Health Act (2017), including mandating where to access skilled maternity care, ensuring that care is affordable to all, and making a range of family planning methods available to both adults and adolescents.
To ensure that these policies are properly implemented and evaluated, Odallo recommends investing in careful planning, budgeting, monitoring, and data collection. The policies should also be accompanied by clear means of addressing negligence or disrespectful maternal care, she writes, in order to ensure accountability.
“Women and girls from low-income backgrounds, those who have achieved only lower levels of education, are most affected by maternal mortality and morbidity arising from a lack of access to quality and skilled services,” writes Odallo. “Policies that promote better maternal health outcomes for this group are necessary.”
Read the op-ed here:
- “Here’s how to stop deaths of pregnant girls, women,” The Star, 02.28.23