Specialist doctors warn of high infant deaths

Paediastricians during their association’s annual scientific conference in Mombasa yesterday. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]
Child specialist doctors have raised concern that at least 50 out of 1,000 infants in the country will die if universal healthcare is not rolled out. 

The paediastricians said the challenges could be tackled if the government addressed the problem of lack of medical supplies and shortage of doctors and other health workers.

Kenya Paediatric Association (KPA) chairman Thomas Ngwiri attributed the deaths to premature births and chronic infections such as malaria and pneumonia. 

“The deaths occur in the first month of life and a significant number die within one year of life due to complications like infections and premature births. Beyond one month, we lose them due to pneumonia and diarrhea,“ Dr Ngwiri said.

Speaking during KPA's annual scientific conference in Mombasa yesterday, Dr Ngwiri called for more specialist doctors, saying Kenya's current 500 paeditricians and 4,000 health workers are unable to improve child survival. 

Dr Mary Waiyego, who manages the newly established human milk bank at Pumwani hospital in Nairobi, said its success should replicated around the country to save more lives.

She said the milk is from screened donors and has been pasteurised to ensure safety.

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“We target infants who do not have breast milk because thir mothers are too sick or are dead," she said. 

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Universal healthcareKenya Paediatric AssociationInfant deaths