23 October 2017

Kenya: Prolonged Nurses' Strike Paralyses Kenya Health Sector

Photo: Magdalene Wanja/Daily Nation
Nakuru nurses gathered at the county offices on February 03, 2017 protesting delayed salaries .

Nairobi — MOTHERS and newborns are dying during deliveries in homes as vulnerable communities in crisis-torn Kenya fail to access essential healthcare amid the ongoing nurses' strike. National immunization coverage rates have dropped from 84,6 percent to 68 percent as a result of the industrial action running for months. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said women delivering in institutions had fallen by 33 percent with consequent deaths. Inadequate health service provision in public health facilities has contributed to the deteriorating health situation of children in the country, exposing them to preventable diseases and death. Current Data by the Ministry of Health data shows numbers of unvaccinated children have risen to 265 523 between January and July 2017, compared to 157 584 in the same period last year. Skilled care during pregnancy has declined by 44 percent while deliveries in health facilities has reduced from 85 000 to 57 000. More women, especially from poor households, are delivering at home. Others are seeking emergency care late, resulting in deaths of the mothers and the newborns. Isiolo and Tana River are among the most affected counties with up to 80 percent decline in institutional deliveries. Over 50 percent of health facilities in arid and semi-arid counties are closed due to the nurses' industrial action. Werner Schultink, UNICEF representative of in Kenya, called for increased collaborations. "It is essential we work together to provide critical health services to the most vulnerable populations," Schultink said. Apart from the nurses' strike. Kenyans are contending with violence ahead of polls scheduled for Thursday

Kenya

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