MATERNAL HEALTH

Nairobi leads in both maternal mortality and stillbirths

Ten counties account for half reported maternal deaths

In Summary

• Mothers in critical condition are often complicated referral cases from elsewhere and the probability of losing them is high.

• A stillbirth, says the World Health Organisation, is a baby born with no signs of life at or after 28 weeks' gestation.

Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi during the official opening of the 2nd Annual Conference on Maternal, Neonatal, Child Health and Nutrition at Safari Park on February 5, 2020
Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi during the official opening of the 2nd Annual Conference on Maternal, Neonatal, Child Health and Nutrition at Safari Park on February 5, 2020
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

Nairobi leads other counties in both the number of maternal deaths and stillbirths, according to Health ministry data.

In 2018, the county recorded 134 maternal deaths and 1,045 stillbirths.

“This is because the population in Nairobi is very high and we have to note that the county has a national referral hospital (KNH) and referral cases are complicated cases,” Dr James Gitonga of the ministry's Division of Reproductive Health and Maternal Services says.

Gitonga explained: "Most critical mothers are referred there from other parts of the country and you find the probability of losing that mother because of the emergency is higher.”

Other counties with high stillbirth numbers are Kiambu (539), Nakuru (461), Mombasa (449), Kisumu (339), Kakamega (447), Kilifi (530), Kisii (284), Nyandarua (276), Bungoma (311), Kitui (315), Mandera (301), Narok (442) and Siaya (319).

A stillbirth, says the World Health Organisation, is a baby born with no signs of life at or after 28 weeks' gestation.

The causes of stillbirths are childbirth complications, maternal infections in pregnancy (malaria, syphilis and HIV), maternal disorders (especially hypertension, obesity and diabetes), foetal growth restriction and congenital abnormalities.

Outgoing Health CS Sicily Kariuki at a past event acknowledged that a population surge in Nairobi exerts pressure on the available health facilities. 

“The in-migration is progressively increasing especially of young people whose health needs include disease prevention interventions and investments related to access to safe amenities and living conditions for the promotion of health,” Kariuki noted.

Kiambu and Nakuru had 51 maternal deaths each, Mombasa 50 and Kisumu, Kakamega, Kilifi, Kisii, Migori and Uasin Gishu 49, 48, 41, 40, 36 and respectively.

Canada's High Commissioner to Kenya Lisa Stadelbauer and Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi during the 2nd Annual Conference on Maternal, Neonatal, Child Health and Nutrition at Safari Park on February 5, 2020
Canada's High Commissioner to Kenya Lisa Stadelbauer and Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi during the 2nd Annual Conference on Maternal, Neonatal, Child Health and Nutrition at Safari Park on February 5, 2020
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

 

These counties account for half the reported maternal death, the data shows.

A total of 45,904  still deaths and 10,441 maternal deaths were reported in the past four years, the data shows.

“At the time of birth, it is important for mothers to deliver in a health facility. But reaching the hospital is not enough. While there, mothers need to receive quality care,” Daniel Muhinja, a World Vision health and nutrition specialist,  said.

The leading causes of maternal mortality are haemorrhage (44%), obstructed labour (34%), eclampsia (13%), sepsis (6%) and ruptured uterus (3%).