21 December 2012

Kenya: Do Not Deliver Babies At Home, Midwives Warned

Coast provincial director of medical services Maurice Siminyu addressing the media during the delivering for young mothers media meeting at Pride Inn hotel, Dr. Siminyu has put traditional birth attendants on notice saying they are the ones responsibility for a huge percentage of deaths due to birth complications especially among teenage girls. Photo Norbert Allan

Traditional birth attendants at the Coast have been accused of causing majority of the birth complications that lead to deaths.

Coast provincial director of Medical Services Maurice Siminyu said most of the traditional birth attendants think about money at the expense of the mothers' health.

Siminyu cautioned the midwifes against helping mothers deliver at home. He said expectant mothers should be attended to by skilled attendants at health facilities.

"You can claim your payment later but please, bring the women to a skilled person so that the mothers can be attended to promptly in case there is any complication," said the PDMS.

Most of those who opt for the TBAs are the underage girls because of easy accessibility and its being cheaper. At the Coast General hospital, delivery costs Sh2,500 with additional Sh700 for every night spent in the wards.

The TBAs charge about Sh2,000 for delivery and other duties that they perform for the mother including washing and taking care of the baby and the mother for a whole week.

He said the TBAs usually massage the abdomen, which might detach the placenta leading excessive bleeding and many other complications.

"Eventually this will lead to foetal death as there would be no communication in terms of food and oxygen between the mother and baby," Siminyu said.

Speaking during a breakfast meeting between journalists the German Foundation for World Population (DSW) at a Mombasa hotel on Wednesday, Siminyu said culture is to blame for some of the deaths caused birth complications.

The number of maternal deaths at the hands of the TBS could not be immediately established. Siminyu and DSW's George Ouma said underage girls, as young as 12-year-olds are impregnated and forced to drop out of school especially in Kaloleni and Kwale districts.

They said many families in Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa counties marry off their daughters in order to get school fees for their sons. "We must find a solution for ourselves. We can't wait for manna from heaven," said Siminyu.

The DSW, in partnership with St Luke's Mission Hospital, Public Health ministry and Women Fighting Aids in Kenya in June launched the Delivering for Young Mothers project in Coast which aims to reduce child and maternal mortality.

The project is being implemented in three districts including Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa and targets pregnant women and mothers, especially those under the age of 24.

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