Wote, Makueni County – The Makueni county government has made significant progress in enhancing Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child, and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N). Anita Mutula, the spouse of Makueni’s Governor and RMNCAH+N champion, highlighted these advancements during the National World Prematurity Day Celebrations at the Mother and Child Hospital in Wote.
According to Kenya News Agency, Mutula revealed that the county is implementing cost-effective, high-impact interventions for managing preterm and low birth weight babies. She reported that since 2017, the Department of Health has trained 25 healthcare workers, increasing facilities practicing Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) from two to six. These include Makueni County Referral Hospital, Makindu, Sultan Hamud, Kibwezi, Mbooni, and Kilungu Sub County Hospitals.
Data from these hospitals show that out of 10,323 live births between January and December 2022, 1,003 (9.7%) were preterm or low birth weight. Remarkably, 515 of these cases (51.3%) were managed through KMC, with a survival rate of 99.4%. This underscores the efficacy of KMC, a simple and cost-effective intervention.
Mrs. Mutula also initiated an advocacy campaign, appointing 30 ward champions from community health promoters to disseminate RMNCAH+N messages in communities. This aligns with the Ministry of Health’s approach of strengthening primary healthcare through community health strategies.
She commended the efforts of development partners in supporting the government’s goal of ensuring access to the highest standard of health for all citizens. As Kenya aims to reduce its neonatal mortality rate – currently at 21 deaths per 1,000 live births – to less than 12 by 2030, Makueni’s neonatal mortality stands at 26 per 1,000 live births.
Kangaroo Mother Care, a practice involving prolonged skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby, has proven instrumental in improving survival rates of preterm babies, who are born before completing 37 weeks of pregnancy.