Makueni County Director of Medical Services Dr Kiio Ndolo has decried the rising cases of preterm births in Makueni County in the last three years.
Dr Ndolo disclosed that the county recorded 868, 913 and 1,239 such cases in the years 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Speaking at the Makueni Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) in Wote town on Wednesday, the director said the premature births of children by mothers being witnessed in the county signifies a worrying trend. The rate has increased from 4% in 2018 to 6% in 2020.
Consequently, he appealed to the pregnant mothers to attend antenatal clinics for care and early detection of complications that cause preterm births.
“Mothers who do not attend clinics regularly during antenatal period miss the care and are likely to get minor or major complications during pregnancy leading to premature births,” said Dr Ndolo.
He further warned that premature babies are susceptible to infections, which may cause malformations and birth defects that may affect them for the rest of their lives.
Any child born before 36 weeks of gestation and also has a birth weight of less than 2,500 grams are usually given special care to enable them survive the environment.
Most of the cases reported are from teenage mothers because their pregnancies were not planned and they fail to attend the clinics for supplements and health education.
Speaking at the same function, the County Health Education and Promotion Officer Ms Bretta Mutisya, urged mothers to attend antenatal clinics to get advice on their pregnancy, the right diets and supplements.
“When mothers attend antenatal clinics on time, they will get education on how to live with pregnancy, nutritional requirements and importance of delivering in hospital,” she said.
Mutisya also challenged fathers to accompany their spouses to antenatal clinics because the health of the unborn child and the mother are responsibilities of the man.
By Patrick Nyakundi and Ronald Rono