The number of mothers who have died in childbirth doubled to 857 in the first half of this year, driven by prolonged doctors and nurses’ strikes that have left most women without medical attention during critical hours of delivery.
The ministry, however, captures only 10 per cent of such deaths as many others go unrecorded, especially because more than 50 per cent of public health facilities remain closed as the nationwide nurses’ strike, in its 134th day, continues.
‘Facilities are not working and the data could only be for those who die in hospital,’the head of the Maternal and Reproductive Health Unit in the Health ministry, Dr Joel Gondi, said.
‘I do not have the data to interrogate further but first we need to look at the authenticity of the source, where the deaths are recorded and look at the contributing factors.
‘The Director of Medical Services (Dr Jackson Kioko) is better placed to respond,’ he said.
Marsabit, Migori, Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Kwale and Lamu counties are among the top 15 regions with the highest maternal deaths, accounting for about 50 per cent of all maternal deaths in the country, according to the United Nations.
The Medical Superintendent at Moyale Sub-County Referral Hospital in Marsabit Mohamed Ebrahim said the facility has not had deliveries since the nurses’ strike began in June.