Every day, approximately 800 women die around the world from preventable complications related to pregnancy and childbirth; that’s 289,000 women every year who will never be able to care for their children, generate income for their families, or contribute to their communities.
“A mother’s death disrupts the entire family structure, pushes families deeper into poverty, and requires daughters to leave their studies and take care of the household.”
An astounding 99 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries – including Kenya and surrounding countries in East Africa.
The numbers are hard to comprehend – but these deaths are preventable. Most low-income women in East Africa deliver at home or in underequipped public facilities characterized by shared postpartum beds, extremely low staff-to-patient ratios, a lack of lifesaving drugs, and medical staff that reputedly often lack necessary skills and are less than respectful. In Kenya, only 39 per cent of women use modern methods of birth control, which, by allowing women to space and plan their pregnancies, reduces the risk of maternal death.
“Peri-urban communities are the fastest growing areas in Africa and around the world and poor quality health services for mothers and babies are common in these communities.”
In Kenya there is a trend across all income levels toward facility-based deliveries. Quality of care remains a big barrier to improving health outcomes. The government’s mandate for free maternity care is a great step for patients, but public maternity wards are busier than ever and resources and staff are tight.
That’s why Jacaranda Health has worked hard to develop a new model for health care in East Africa; one that, as we develop, pilot, and scale successful innovations, will make a measurable impact on saving women’s and newborns’ lives.