Lamu County leads in maternal deaths – Report

Lamu County leads in maternal deaths – Report

Lamu County has the highest number of maternal deaths. This is according to a Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) of the National Council for Population and Development released Saturday.

Speaking in Lamu, KDHS regional coordinator Margaret Mwaila said most maternal deaths occur due to failure of most mothers to reach health facilities during child birth.

Mwaila said most mothers, especially in Lamu East Sub County, prefer to deliver their babies at home without proper care.

She added that a lot of social and cultural barriers keep mothers in Lamu County away from health facilities.

The KDHS boss said over 45 per cent of women in Lamu County deliver their babies at home and are assisted by traditional birth attendants.

She advised all residents to ensure they seek medical assistance during labor to avoid cases of deaths of the mother or child as a result of ignorance.

Mwaila said the number of pregnant women who register and go for clinics was very encouraging but was quick to add that very few of the women deliver at a health facility.

“Almost 99 per cent of women attend clinics in the entire county. The problem comes during child birth; over 45 per cent of the women prefer home deliveries and this is a great challenge to us,” she said.

“The women seem to be more comfortable with traditional midwives. I advise them to deliver their babies in hospitals because the midwives they rely on are not able to recognize complications or emergencies during pregnancy and early labor and that is why we end up losing most mothers.”

She also said lack of proper infrastructure was another key element leading to increased maternal deaths in the county every year.

There are very few dispensaries in the county with most of them facing both human resource and crucial medical equipment shortages.

Mwaila said plans are underway to employ more nurses who will be posted to the health centers with the aim of improving child delivery services.

Last year, Lamu County spent Ksh 43 million to buy advanced health equipment out of which Ksh 14 million was used to purchase maternity equipment.

Most of the tools have already reached health facilities and residents have been encouraged to embrace modern delivery services by ensuring they go to hospital during birth to avoid pregnancy-related complications and deaths since almost all maternal deaths are entirely preventable with proper medical surveillance and intervention.