Changing Lives, One Woman at a Time: Maternal Health in Kenya

Huffington Post

Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, Kenyan Red CrossEmail

Siddharth Chatterjee, Representative at UNFPA Kenya


Kenya is one of the most developed economies in East and Central Africa and has demonstrated leadership in overcoming some of the major human development challenges that face Sub-Saharan Africa. As we race towards the Millennium Development Goals, the country is set to meet many of the development targets by 2015.

On the issue of maternal and child health in Kenya however, there is much work to be done. Mr. James Macharia, the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Health, highlighted the challenge and said that, "unfortunately each day 15 women and 290 children die as a result of pregnancy complications--including giving birth, HIV and several curable and preventable childhood diseases".

According to the Ministry of State for Devolution and Planning's National Development and Vision 2030, 43.8 percent of births in Kenya were attended to by trained health personnel as of 2011 against a 2015 target of 90 percent. Only 43 percent of deliveries take place in health facilities. Contraceptive prevalence rate is at 46 percent up from 39 percent in 2000 against a 2015 target of 70 percent.