The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: UNFPA Leads Fight Against Childbirth Deaths

THE United Nations Population Fund is partnering with the private sector and government to reverse maternal deaths. Maternal mortality stands at 500 per 100,000 births, a figure that threatens the realisation of Millennium Development Goal five.

Speaking yesterday at a joint forum to discuss ways of collaborating with the business community, UNFPA called for teamwork to fight the country's disease burden.

"We need to equip the health sector with adequate financial and geographical resources to scale up services and save lives," Kenya Healthcare Federation CEO Amit Thakker said.

Thakker called for the improvement of skills among the workforce, saying the move will reverse the current statistics which have recorded a marginal increase.

The 2008 Kenya Demographic Health Survey reported 488 maternal deaths, an increase from 2003's 414. He said good health will help the country achieve Vision 2030 and called for more efforts to ensure children celebrate their fifth birthday.

Representatives from various business communities attended the meeting. They pledged to fund a health kitty to boost the sector. Speaking at the same function, director of Medical Services Shahnaz Sharif called for the reduction of teenage pregnancies.

He said a reduction of the fertility rate, which stands at 4.6 per cent, will lower deaths of children under five years currently at 74 per 1,000 live births.

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