Despite the many strides made in healthcare services, only a paltry 56 per cent of women in the county deliver in hospitals.
The county also records statistics of 691 per 100,000 live births, falling behind most national health indicators. According to Kenya Demographic Health Survey of 2014, prevalence of child bearing (15 to 19 years) is the highest in the county and three out of 10 of the girls have not completed primary education.
This came up yesterday during the launch of a project that will promote efficient hospital delivery for women in the county and ensure girls get access to quality education.
Accompanied by Mama Sarah Obama, Siaya governor’s wife Rosella Rasanga and her counterparts Judy Ojamoong (Busia), Priscilla Oparanya (Kakamega), Olivia Ranguma (Kisumu), Hellen Obado (Migori), and Naomi Nyangarama (Nyamira) initiated the project to encourage safe motherhood and educate women on the need for births at the hands of skilled attendants in hospitals.
“It is shocking to hear that only 56 per cent of women deliver in hospitals. This means most mothers’ lives are at risk,” said Rosella.
The initiative, which is a brainchild of Rosella, includes mother-baby pack, a drive to mobilise a million-plus sanitary towels and book harvesting for girls from poor backgrounds.
The mother-baby pack that will be available all the sub-county hospitals has basins, diapers, soaps, nappies, baby shawls and sanitary towels.
Rosella noted mothers who deliver in hospitals will benefit from the mother-pack, adding they are seeking to reduce the high number of maternal deaths in the county.
She also revealed that the initiative will promote skilled delivery, especially among young mothers, who still do not visit hospitals. “We want to motivate and educate mothers on safe delivery,” added Rosella.
She said they will conduct book harvesting at the sub-county level by establishing mobile libraries, donate sanitary towels to girls and give every mother who delivers in hospital the mother pack.
“We will participate in education days of different schools to encourage a reading culture because there is a big gap in mentorship of the adolescents,” said Rosella.
She also attributed the poor reading culture among school-going children and youths to an exam-based system, especially when searching for jobs.