Home Business KOGS calls for enhanced health budget to cut maternal deaths

KOGS calls for enhanced health budget to cut maternal deaths

KOGS President Dr Kireki Omanwa. PHOTO | Selestus Mayira

The Kenya Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society (KOGS) is urging the government to boost the country’s health budget in order to better equip public health facilities to address the high rate of maternal deaths associated with post-partum hemorrhage (PPH).

Speaking to KBC English Service, KOGS President Dr Kireki Omanwa said enhanced health sector budgetary allocation will ensure Kenya hires more doctors, acquire modern equipment and build better hospital infrastructure to deal with cases of PPH, an the excessive blood loss which pregnant women face upon giving birth.

Channel 1

“Blood is one of the biggest problems in this country. We collect about 260,000 units of blood which is about 60pc of what we need. As a country we need about 500,000 units of blood every year and 70pc of the current units is used by women,” he noted.

According to Dr Omanwa, limited funding for public healthcare has resulted to many hospitals across the country being ill equipped, lack sufficient personnel and medications to treat PPH which is the leading cause of maternal deaths in the country.

“We did some random checks as KOGS and we called all county and sub-county hospitals in this country. First of all, half of them have telephone number that are either wrong or do not work. The other half were very cautious about sharing information,” said Dr Kireki.

He noted, “The information we got is that there are very few hospitals which had basic life saving equipment such as Uterine Balloon Tamponade (UBT).”

Low availability of readymade UBTs which cost Ksh 700 also means doctors in public hospitals are forced to improvise using condoms in a bid to save lives.

Statistics indicate that Kenya’s maternal mortality rate currently stands at about 364 per 100,000 live births compared to an average is 12 deaths per 100,000 live births in high-income economies.

The death rates are highest among pregnant women aged 15-19 years, those above 35 years, those with diabetes, fibroids and those who have given birth multiple times.

And while the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets to cut maternal death rate to 70 per 100,000 live births, or below, by 2030 Kenya still lags behind.

The country is also yet to meet the requirements of the Abuja Declaration where African states committed to allocate at least 15pc of budget to the health sector.

In the FY2023/24 the health sector has been allocated Ksh 141.2 billion equivalent to 11pc of the budget, out of which Ksh 18.4 billion will fund Universal Health Coverage programmes, Ksh 5.9 billion for the Managed Equipment Services and Ksh 4.1 billion for Free Maternity Health Care.

With at least 4,750 doctors in the country being unemployed, KOGS is urging the government to prioritize hiring additional personnel to ease service constrains.

“In as much there are programmes to address maternal healthcare such as Linda Mama, the issue of human resource which is one of the big pillars has not been addressed. There are places in this country where we have two consultant obstetricians,” he added.

Additional funding is also expected to aid in the construction of cold storage facilities for medicines used in the treatment of PPH and build better Intensive Care Units for mothers.

Website | + posts