Turkana County lost 352 children and 20 mothers due to pregnancy related complications between July 2019 and June 2020.
On average, one child died daily during child birth in the county during the period under review.
While presenting the maternal and perinatal death surveillance report for the one year period between July 2019 to June 2020 to the County Assembly committees of Health and Budget and Appropriation, County Chief Officer for Health Services and Sanitation Dr. Roberts Abok said 352 child deaths were reported.
“There were 797 pregnancy-related complications from which a total of 20 maternal deaths were reported throughout the county,” said Abok.
The report cited that eclampsia accounted for the largest number of deaths by claiming seven lives which were 35 per cent of the total.
“Obstructed labour, post-partum hemorrhage and rapture of the uterus accounted for 65 per cent of the cases in different percentages,” said Dr. Abok.
The report further indicated that adolescent girls were as much affected as adult mothers with seven cases representing 35 per cent of all the cases.
Being the very first meeting, Dr. Abok assured members of the two County Assembly Committee of their resolve to host routine bi-annual meetings of the same agenda going forward.
Dr. Abok said that the move is a deliberate effort to show accountability and drive the health facilities towards finding lasting solutions to the problem through the framework provided for by the Maternal and Perinatal Deaths Audit currently being implemented across the nation.
He lauded the input of the County Government and its partners in enhancing the capacity of Turkana in saving lives of mothers and children by setting up centers of excellence in different parts of the county.
He also called on Members of the County Assembly to consider allocating funds for expansion of existing theatres and construction of new ones in each sub county.
Dr. Abok also called on the county committees to support the health department in using evidence as a tool for planning and allocation of resources for reduced maternal, perinatal and neonatal deaths.
County Director for Medical Services Dr. Gilchrist Lokoel said the county has adopted a centralised management system for referrals after the difficulties of accessing ambulances at the sub county level proved cumbersome.
According to Dr. Lokoel, deaths resulting from delay in provision of ambulance services as well as acute shortage of blood could be resolved by purchase of additional ambulances and funding of the blood drives.
While giving assurance of his committee’s support towards initiatives that would help reduce death of mothers and children, County Assembly chairman of health committee Bethwel Kobongin warned that the assembly would also tighten its oversight role going forward.
Kobongin said the Turkana County Assembly had already demonstrated its seriousness towards ensuring quality health services by passing a number of bills and ensuring favourable budgetary allocation in the past.
A World Bank consultant Dr. Chris Ouma cited Turkana as being among the 16 counties with maternal and prenatal numbers above the national averages and called for use of evidence and verified data of deaths to initiate joint planning with the County Assembly and partners going forward.
USAID funded Afya Timiza team leader for Turkana County Anthony Arasio urged the MCAs to increase budgetary allocation on critical areas that may arrest the situation.
He assured the participants of the continued support of Afya Timiza towards health system strengthening.
The meeting was attended by members of the budget and appropriation and health and sanitation committees. Mr. John Amadi also attended on behalf of Tupime Kaunti program.
By Peter Gitonga