Every day, about 800 women die worldwide from preventable pregnancy or child related complications with most of these deaths occurring in low resource settings.
Poverty set aside, what else could be causing high maternal mortality rates in such settings?
Amongst the Fort Ternan community in Muhoroni Sub County, it is alleged that a number of expecting women would seek delivery services from old unskilled midwives and only go to the facility in case of complications.
Surprisingly enough, the midwives offer their services at a fee yet quality services at the nearby dispensary are free of charge. What could be the reason?
‘I conceived four months after my last delivery. I was ashamed to go to the facility because it was too soon so I opted to seek the services of a midwife. I developed complications and I can’t tell what could have happened if I never went to the hospital. I swear I will never seek the services of a midwife again’, revealed Beth Onyango, a woman in her late 30s.
According to Jane (name altered) who is a young mother of two, she chose the services of an old unskilled midwife during her first delivery out of fear after she heard that nurses beat up mothers in the hospital.
Her experience was not any better since the midwife too beat her when she could not follow instructions due to the labor pains.
The community members who were speaking during a community conversation forum introduced by KMET also disclosed that those expecting twins more often lose one of their babies in the hands of these midwives.
The men who had turned up in large numbers for this forum were shocked when they heard these revelations.
Despite their involvement in taking the women to the hospital during complications, they were not aware of the risks the women faced by first seeking services from the unskilled old midwives.
When all was said, the community members decided to start sensitization sessions that would emphasize on the importance of expecting women seeking all the services from the health facility.
The men even agreed to influence the others and prohibit their wives from seeing unskilled midwives for whatever reason.
KMET has been introducing community conversation forums so that communities and especially men take maternal health issues as their responsibility.