The Makueni county government has made strides in improving Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child, and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) in the county.
Makueni Governor spouse Anita Mutula who is also RMNCAH+N champion said the county is implementing low-cost, effective, and scientifically proven high-impact interventions for the management of preterm and low birth weight babies.
Mutula spoke on Friday at Mother and Child Hospital in Wote during National World Prematurity Day Celebrations.
“The Department of Health has been able to capacity build and train 25 health care workers which has increased the number of facilities practicing Kangaroo Mother Care from two in 2017 to currently six facilities,” said Mutula.
The facilities include; Makueni County Referral Hospital, Makindu, Sultan Hamud, Kibwezi, Mbooni, and Kilungu Sub County Hospitals.
She said data from the 6 hospitals offering Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) services shows that 10,323 live births were recorded at facilities between January to December 2022, of which 1,003 (9.7 percent of all births) were preterm or low birth weight.
“Of these, 515 or 51.3 percent were managed through Kangaroo Mother Care and a total of 512 babies or 99.4 percent of the babies lived and this success highlights the importance of simple, low-cost interventions like Kangaroo Mother Care in ensuring survival,” she noted.
Mrs. Mutula added that she has identified 30 ward champions from among the community health promoters to take the messages deep into the communities.
“As RMNCAH+N champion to lead advocacy activities to improve the related indicators, I have identified 30 ward champions from among the community health promoters to take the messages deep into the communities, in line with the Ministry of Health approach of strengthening primary health care through revamping of community health strategy,” she said
She lauded development partners for synergized efforts in supporting the government mandate of ensuring every citizen has access to the highest attainable standard of health.
“As we celebrate World Prematurity Day, we recognize the roles played by our development partners who are represented here today. Your efforts have been synergistic in delivering the government mandate of ensuring every citizen has access to the highest attainable standard of health,” noted Mutula.
According to the Ministry of Health, Kenya’s current neonatal mortality is 21 deaths per 1,000 live births, with an SDG target of reducing this to less than 12 deaths per 1000 live births by 2030 with Makueni neonatal mortality rate at 26 per 1000 live births.
Preterm babies are born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed.
Kangaroo Mother Care prolongs continuous skin-to-skin contact between the mother and baby for between 8 to 12 hours a day.
By Ronald Rono