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Alarm over maternal deaths in Bungoma

The county of Bungoma has raised concern over the rising cases of deaths reported among patients seeking reproductive health services in local facilities

Bungoma County Reproductive Health (RH) Coordinator Christine Naliaka expressed fears that the number of perinatal and maternal deaths reported in the county in quarterly basis was worrying and called on the need to tame the anomaly.

Speaking to journalists at a Bungoma hotel, Ms. Naliaka revealed that in 2021, maternal complications claimed the lives of 40 mothers who had visited health facilities to deliver.

She added that Bungoma is also losing an average of 10 babies quarterly, attributing it to weak referral systems within sub- County and the County Referral Hospital.

According to Naliaka, Bungoma County Referral Hospital records show that 84 perinatal deaths were recorded between the period July 2020 and March 2022.

Ms. Naliaka noted that to address these worrying trends, the health technical working group (TWG) and reproductive maternal, newborn and child health network (RMNCAH), stage media arts and other organizations in the county have teamed up  to come up with appropriate interventions.

She noted that a number of  community health volunteers (CHV’s) have also been trained and deployed in every village whose role entails reporting on the number of expectant mothers in the village ,helping them during delivery using their linkage with both public and private health facilities.

The County Reproductive Health coordinator urged the county government through the department of health and sanitation to help improve the referral strategy.

“One of the common factors that are causing deaths in our health facilities is poor referral mechanisms from Sub- County health facilities to the county referral hospital.” she said.

She said that  early investigation of pregnant mothers on their antenatal care visits, appropriate labour follow-up, immediate newborn care and interventions to delay birth interval also minimize perinatal mortality,

She pleaded with pregnant women to visit health facilities for antenatal care (ANC) which are free at all facilities.

On teenage pregnancy, Ms. Naliaka advised parents to engage in reproductive health talks with their sons and daughters to avert the high number of cases being reported in the county.

Bungoma County Primary Health care (PHC) project coordinator Rahma Issain said that the two project’s main objective is to address teenage pregnancies, weak referral systems and boosting antenatal care visits in Bungoma.

Ms. Issa said the RMNCAH network is also talking to the county government to allocate funds towards the family planning initiatives and the establishment of youth friendly service desks.

By Ibrahim Wekhaya and Roseland Lumwamu

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