Preventing maternal and neonatal deaths in Kenya

Aug 29 2014

By Professor Julie Byles

Every minute in the world a woman dies as a result of pregnancy or childbirth, and every three seconds a child dies from preventable causes. These deaths are not just isolated medical occurrences. Maternal and child deaths impact beyond the immediate family to the broader society.  In Africa, 35 babies and 5 mothers die, for every 1000 babies born.

Faith Yego, from the Moi Teaching Hospital in Kenya doesn’t think these statistics are acceptable!

With the support from the University of Newcastle (namely the Priority Research Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Priority Research Centre for Gender Health and Ageing) and The Ministry of State for Public Service in Kenya, Faith has been investigating the causes of maternal and early neonatal deaths in Western Kenya.  Faith’s study stresses the importance of good antenatal care, and has led to new protocols for triaging maternity admissions, managing pregnancy complications, and caring for newborns.

Faith has published her work, and submitted her PhD thesis, but we hope the biggest outcome will be that mothers can give birth safely and enjoy their healthy babies. Faith is really happy about the policy implications of this research and is foreseeing greater projects resulting from the outcomes of this research that target improved maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Listen to an ABC interview with Faith here, or for a copy of Faith’s key research paper click here

*** Professor Julie Byles is Director of the Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing – a Priority Research Centre at the University of Newcastle that includes the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for International Longitudinal Studies on Gender, Ageing and Health.