The natural desire by Kenya women to deliver healthy babies after nine months of pregnancy is still a risky and shameful affair.
Women die in the process of delivering babies --- most die while abuses are being hurled on them by the very people that should have ensured safe deliveries, the skilled birth attendants.
The recently released Kenya service provision assessment 2010 has shown that maternal and newborn health indicators are still poor in most health facilities.
30% of facilities provide services for normal deliveries, a decline from 38% in 2004, while only 5% of facilities provide cesarean section services, similar to 7% in 2004. Only half of facilities have transportation support for maternity emergencies, with hospitals, health centers and maternity facilities being most likely to have transportation support.
Yet the government recently owned up to the fact that progress towards improving key skilled birth attendant in the country has stalled.
While the government continues to point out to lack of funding which continues to deny employing more skilled birth attendants and increasing health facilities where women could deliver babies, the problem, according to Federation of Kenya Women Lawyers a(FIDA-Kenya) and the Population Council goes beyond lack of funds and it touches on disrespect and abuse of women during childbirth.
Disrespect and abuse of women during childbirth, a time of intense vulnerability, constitutes both human rights issue and an important quality of care problem.
Examples of disrespect and abuse include humiliation, not respecting a woman’s privacy and dignity, examinations and even surgery performed without her consent, discrimination based on attributes such as tribe, race, caste, or socio-economic status, abandonment or denial of care and physical and verbal abuse during childbirth.
The situation is worse among the poor who have to rely on public health facilities where they have to be attended to by stressed, over-worked and frustrated staff.
To help contextualize the situation, FIDA-Kenya and the Population Council with the support of the USAID have recently launched a project to help bring out attitude issues to the fore and hope the outcome will help the government come up with appropriate policies and strategies that will help improve the way women get handled while giving birth.
Last edited by neondo; 13-Jun-2011 at 10:59.
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