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September 26, 2017

Mombasa slum dwellers taught safe delivery, family planning

Teresiah Achieng 43 years old (in red) is a retired Traditional birth attendant (TBA) from Kisumu Ndogo village within Maweni slums of Mombasa share a light moment with DSW programs officer Judy Mboku.Achieng is now a trained Champion on issues of safe motherhood delivery.PHOTO Mkamburi Mwawasi
Teresiah Achieng 43 years old (in red) is a retired Traditional birth attendant (TBA) from Kisumu Ndogo village within Maweni slums of Mombasa share a light moment with DSW programs officer Judy Mboku.Achieng is now a trained Champion on issues of safe motherhood delivery.PHOTO Mkamburi Mwawasi

A German foundation has equipped women in the slums of Mombasa with knowledge on issues of safe motherhood delivery.

The women are taught through different economic and health delivery programmes.

Mombasa county is the major beneficiary of the EU-funded project. Some 40 per cent of the population lives in informal settlements in Tudor Moroto slums, Maweni and Ziwa La Ng’ombe in Nyali and Soweto slums.

Through the project, dispensaries and clinics have been upgraded to meet the public demands and standards.

Maweni clinic and the Mikindani health centres are some of the facilities which benefited.

They received equipment to offer affordable and quality services to the poor residents of Mombasa.

The project, titled: ‘Together for mothers and children’, aims to strengthen health delivery systems in the informal settlements. It was launched two years ago and residents have reaped big from its implementation.

It is funded by the European Union and implemented by WOFAK and DSW (German foundation for world population).

It has also supported the process of developing the Mombasa county nutrition action plan, as well as ensuring all the groups the project is working with have something running for their economic growth and development by giving them technical and financial support.

The household visits and peer education sessions have enabled pregnant mothers know the importance of self delivery through visiting health centres.

This was not the case earlier, when mothers were seeking traditional birth attendants during delivery.

Fewer unplanned births

Kisumu Ndogo residents Ann Aswani and Grace Akoth have been carrying out peer activities.

They urge women to ignore misconceptions and myths on contraceptives and adopt family planning methods to reduce the maternal mortality rate.

The two can attest to how the project has impacted at least 600 women at the Kisumu Ndogo slums, an area labeled as a hotspot for traditional myths and misconceptions on matters of family planning.

“The household visits and community education sessions have enabled mothers to know the importance of visiting clinics, which was not practised before due to traditional beliefs and myths. Mothers could wait until later stages or go for the card and ignore other visits,” said Akoth, a mother of one.

Teresiah Achieng, now 43 years old, is a retired traditional birth attendant from Kisumu Ndogo village within Maweni slums of Mombasa. Since she was trained as a Safe Motherhood Champion, she says the number of unplanned births has drastically reduced.

She says since the implementation began, home deliveries have reduced by at least 40 per cent due to the intervention by the trained ambassadors.

DSW programme officer Judy Mboku says since the launch of the project, residents are now benefiting from a series of peer trainings, therefore empowering them.

Both women and children targeted

“We have done a lot of engagement to the vulnerable groups, targeting both women and children to improve comprehensive health care service information and supplies to 600 women of reproductive age group living in Bangladesh and Maweni informal settlements,” she said.

Some 41 per cent of 208 million pregnancies occurring each year are unplanned. About half of them end up in abortion. This has raised serious concerns among health players, who are calling for quick government intervention.

“We need to do more to ensure our women survive pregnancy and child birth. This is a promise for quality life for all Kenyans, and this lies in embracing contraceptives,” DSW regional coordinator George Ouma said.

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