Why Is The Healthcare Of Our Women And Children Not Being Taken Seriously In Kenya ?

 There  are a lot of things that determine the success of a country, one of them is having affordable and efficient healthcare services. Healthcare is a very sensitive topic that must be discussed and evaluated accordingly.  Have you heard of the allegations of what has been happening at the Kenyatta National Hospital? It is utterly heartbreaking to hear of the stories of women who have just given birth being violated by the people who are supposed to be protecting them. The unfortunate part is that it didn’t start recently but has been going on for sometime now according to those opening up. Can you imagine the amount of pain women have to go through both physically and emotionally after such an ordeal?

A ward at Kenyatta National Hospital. Source: Private

According to the allegations, there have been deaths of both infants and their mothers due to the negligence and arrogance of hospital staff who are supposed to be there to ensure women giving birth in their hospital are protected and the infants breastfed by their mothers conveniently to prevent them from getting infections. Kenyatta National Hospital might not be the only facility where children are allegedly denied treatment intentionally. One online user also visited the hospital and exposed how mothers share beds and sleep on the floor regardless of their condition. The conditions are similar in so many public health facilities across the country. There was this CASE where a pregnant mother died after medical staff clocked out at the end of their shift, leaving her unattended, crying in pain and begging for help for 14 hours at the Kakamega Provincial General Hospital. The family claimed that the doctors knew this was an emergency case but took more than 12 hours to attend to her, which was too late.

One of the wards at Kakamega General Hospital. Source: Sahara Tribune

Having such instances occurring in 2018 isn’t right and can never be justified. We all know that a nation can never be productive if its people are not healthy especially the children. The truth of the matter is that,children are the future of tomorrow and if our future is sick and dieing, then the nation is also sick and dieing. Therefore, ensuring that our children’s health is taken care of is paramount for a healthy future generation.

As much as the infant child mortality rate has reduced from 162.6 deaths per 1000 live births in 1966 to 49.4 deaths per live births in 2015, a lot still needs to be done to prevent these deaths of which majority are preventable. I participated in the Kenya Demographic and Health survey research which showed that as much as the under five mortality rate had reduced from 2003’s 115 death per 1000 live births t0 74 deaths per per 1000 live births in 2008/2009, we’re still behind when it comes to meeting the millennium development goal of 30 deaths per 1000 live births. Cases like these are supposed to be a thing of the past if we’re to achieve this MDG.

What measures has the government put in place to ensure that our children and women have better healthcare and mortality rates reduced? Malaria is the leading cause of infant deaths , something that should not be happening in this age and era.  Though there have been nationwide campaigns on immunization and proper sanitation like the Malize Bora strategy which was initiated in 2007 ,children aren’t supposed to be dieing of preventable diseases like Malaria . I commend the project because it has been able to provide a wide range of services which include immunization, Vitamin A supplementation, de-worming of both children and pregnant women, treatment of childhood diseases, HIV Counseling and Testing, malaria prevention and provision of malaria drugs.This initiative has saved the lives of many children especially those living  in the rural areas. Research shows that the most effective way to reduce infant mortality rate is through immunization.

All players in the healthcare sector need to improve the healthcare experience of our pregnant mothers and children. It starts with healthcare practitioners working passionately to fulfill what they took oath to do, that is, save lives. Health training institutions have a duty to inculcate among their trainees high moral standards and respect for patients’ rights. The government on the other hand is mandated to provide healthcare services to its citizens regardless of their region or background and has a role to play in ensuring that people living in rural areas have access to healthcare facilities just like the ones in urban areas. Most often than not, mothers in rural areas have to go more than 10km or even more to get the nearest hospital/health facility. I recently visited a rural area of Homabay County where the infrastructure is so bad such that if you had a medical emergency, there are close to zero chances that you’ll get to a medical facility on time. The government therefore needs to upgrade the roads in rural areas to help people get to hospital safely and on time. Finally, one thing that I believe would remedy this situation is ensuring that more people have a source of income something that will contribute to a reduction in poverty and allow for better medication and nutrition.


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