White Ribbon Alliance

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Mothers and babies invade political campaigns

Business Today, Kenya

July 6, 2017

By BT REPORTER July 5, 2017

A new campaign has been launched to urge political leaders to prioritise maternal health and the welfare of newborns. The three-week campaign, dubbed, Whatever your political colours, comes at a time political leaders are traversing the country wooing voters ahead of the August 8th elections.

Run by the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, MamaYe and OAYouth, it urges all political leaders seeking political offices to keep their promises to mothers and newborns by making sure resources are available to provide quality healthcare to them.

It further urges Kenyans to vote in only leaders who have promised to prioritize the health of mothers and newborns in their agenda and those who have committed to be held accountable to the same after being elected.

Maternal and newborn mortality in Kenya remains a major concern. 2015 statistics by the World Health Organization indicated that women in Kenya have a 1 in 42 lifetime risk of dying from a pregnancy related cause.

The Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) 2014 estimates that Kenya loses 8,000 mothers and 40,000 newborns each year despite the many commitments that the country has made towards reducing the same. This translates to 22 mothers and 111 newborns dying each day from preventable causes and this is just unacceptable.

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“We could still save the over 8000 mothers and 40000 newborns who currently die each year in Kenya from pregnancy and childbirth related causes. The status quo is not good enough. Commitments made must be delivered; that is why Kenyans must vote in leaders who prioritize this serious issue and are ready to be held accountable for the same post August 8th, said WRA Kenya, Executive Director Angela Nguku.

Most of these maternal and newborn deaths are preventable, said MamaYe National Coordinator, Koki Kyalo. “Women and newborns are more likely to survive if mothers give birth in a health facility and if health workers have the skills, supplies and equipment they need to provide good quality care,” she said.

The Government of Kenya has promised improvement in the health sector. The government announced a zero cost for mothers giving birth in public health facilities. However, the sector is still struggling to implement this directive. The recent doctors and nurses strike has been a proof that more mothers continue to die helplessly in pregnancy and child birth.

Whatever your political colours

Kenya Vision 2030 aims to reduce Maternal Deaths to 113 per 100,000 live births by 2030 which means a reduction of two thirds in the number of women dying currently while giving life. This will only be achieved if adequate resources are allocated and used to improve maternal and newborn health and if leaders and citizens play their roles effectively, starting during the forthcoming elections.

“Ours is one call, the safety of our mothers and newborns must be in your agenda, It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to, whatever your political Party colours, lets save mothers and newborns. They are Kenya’s future” said WRA Kenya Executive Director Angela Nguku.

The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood unites citizens to demand the right to a safe birth for every woman, everywhere.

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