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Infant mortality rate significantly declining

Mortality rate among young children aged five years and below has had a significant drop in Bungoma County according to the economic survey report of 2022.

This year’s economic report that was prepared by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics revealed that the national mortality rate stands at 35.5 percent for infants born alive. The country also recorded a 52 percent mortality rate for children aged five years and below.

The statistics also show that counties reported 500 deaths each while Garissa and Nyeri counties reported the highest and lowest deaths respectively. Garissa County reported 641 deaths while Nyeri reported 67 deaths for over 1000 infants who were born alive in the last economic year.

Speaking to KNA on Monday, Dr Dickens Lubanga , a senior Pediatrician at Bungoma Referral hospital said the county has reported a 3.5 percent mortality rate for children aged one month to five years which is a significant drop from the previous 7 percent recorded last year.

“For babies below one month, most counties experienced a higher percentage in mortality rate due to inadequate facilities to handle the situation,” Lubanga said. Bungoma County reported 22 percent mortality rate for children below one month which is a drop from the 2019 statistics that reported 31 percent.

Lubanga attributed the 8 percent drop to partners who came in and invested in the pediatric department by bringing in the new technology and facilities that enabled the doctors to take care of young infants of below one month.

“Partners who came in and saved us include USAID and the ministry of health in partnership with the county government of Bungoma,” said Lubanga.

However, the county has experienced some challenges which include shortage of ambulance services in some sub counties such as Mt. Elgon region. According to Lubanga, first time mothers always have a rough time in identifying signs and symptoms that require the doctor’s attention.

“If your child does not breast feed for even six hours, you must seek the doctor’s attention because young ones need to have food after every two or three hours for his or her kidneys,” Lubanga said.

Lubanga also said that irritability in children, failure to defecate and change in skin colour where a yellow matter appears under the skin of infants requires immediate intervention.

By Mwangi Oliver and Roseland Lumwamu

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