Improve maternal health

Where we are?


The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) continues to be high in comparison to other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the world. In 2007 the country recorded 589 deaths per 100 000 live births, showing an increase from 370 deaths in 1995. This increase was due to the high prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS for the reproductive age group 15-49, severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortions. In 2010 recorded deaths fell to 320 following intensified interventions by government, development partners as well as other key players. The fact that births attended by skilled health personnel has improved from 74.3% in 2007 to 82% in 2010; the highest the country has recorded since 2000 has contributed to the fall in maternal mortality.

Antenatal care coverage (ANC) contributes to a reduction in child and maternal mortality and the country is on course to achieve 100% target by 2015 as ANC in 2010 was 96.8%. However, there is the challenge of the Adolescent Birth Rate (ABR) or age-specific fertility rate for women aged 15-19 years estimated at 89% in 2010. This is a challenge for the country’s efforts to meet MGGs 4 and 5 given that teenage pregnancy is associated with higher morbidity and mortality.

To accelerate efforts to meet this MDG the government continues to give the health sector high priority in the national budget, train more health personnel to be able to cope with emergencies, implementing projects on linking HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child care for the vulnerable population, providing free antenatal and postnatal care in public health centres, setting up a monitoring framework for maternal deaths so that corrective interventions are better crafted.

The country faces the following constraints under this goal; impact of HIV/AIDS on maternal health, long distances to health facilities in rural areas, no access to healthcare facilities for 24 hours, and a general lack of skilled personnel, equipment and emergency supplies for obstetric care in some rural maternity units.