How Postnatal Care in Kenya is Improving

Postnatal Care in Kenya
Postnatal care in Kenya lacks proper recognition, however, it is rapidly changing. When it comes to looking after newborn babies and their mothers, the right type of postnatal care is crucial to assure wellbeing. According to the Maternal Health Task Force, more than 60% of the world’s maternal deaths occur during the postnatal period, which is about six weeks after delivery. However, the International Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences reports that this period is the most ignored aspect of maternal care globally. Because of the lack of global acknowledgment, countries suffering from widespread poverty have an even harder time implementing postnatal care policies.

Postnatal Care in Kenya

Kenya tried setting up plans for assistance in the past decades with little success. In 2005, the Ministry of Health in Kenya implemented guidelines increasing the way in which it assesses childcare during the postnatal period. Even though about 80% of the country’s hospitals offer postnatal care, only 42% of Kenyan women give birth in a healthcare facility. This leads to high unreported maternal mortality rates in Kenya. In sub-Saharan Africa, every woman has a one in 16 chance of dying during pregnancy or childbirth.

In order to improve this aspect of the maternal care system, multiple approaches have been proposed as potential solutions to advancing postnatal care in Kenya.

Community-Based Care

Because of these facts, Community Health Workers (CHW) are starting to play a crucial role in healthcare. CHWs can reduce maternal deaths and improve the delivery of healthcare services. Unlike hospitals, CHWs are normally the first point of intersection between the healthcare system and communities. They have more access to mothers who may not be able to afford a hospital birth and can provide them with postnatal care.

Communities select the workers who then serve to give home-based counseling and care services. Because they are well-trained at recognizing diseases, CHWs are held in high regard and receive significant respect in health-related manners. This gives the community the knowledge to know to demand better health services. Additionally, these community workers help link citizens to higher-tier resources.

Better Midwives

In at-home births, midwives are key to ensuring that the whole process occurs smoothly. The Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences states that there should be improved and more professional midwife selections.  There should also be supervision of midwives by supportive initiatives in order to ensure qualifications.

These initiatives support work at all levels of postnatal care while providing midwives with positive encouragement. Strong human resources are also necessary for effectively employing these midwives and securing an improved quality of maternal and neonatal care.

Looking Forward

Access to good postnatal care relates to many broad social issues such as poverty and gender equality. However, many are working for advances in postnatal care in Kenya, laying down the plans to make sure maternal services improve. Hopefully, this will lead to healthier children and fewer deaths during childbirth.

– Jack Parry
Photo: Flickr