Home Health & Fitness Quantity vs. Quality: The Importance of Midwives In Maternal Health

Quantity vs. Quality: The Importance of Midwives In Maternal Health

by Femme Staff

With every newborn visit, she groans silently. ‘When will I have my own?’ Her family and friends are well meaning, but are not making it easy for her. Every time they say jokingly, ‘You should now consider having a child at your age’.

At times it makes her wish she intentionally messed up when she was younger. You know, like had a child out of wedlock or something. She would have been in a better position- never mind the single mother title that she would have carried her whole life. Sometimes, in these sides of her world, the single mother title sounds better than single in your thirties.

Yet again, she wouldn’t have been where she is now, had she picked that path. Without a proper education and job, she probably would be struggling to feed her children.

In her neighborhood, there are tin houses. Whole families live in those single rooms. A particular family though grabs her attention. The wife is probably in her mid-20s; the husband could be in his early 30s. They have a full house- five kids and the woman seems heavy with the sixth child. These kids could form a perfect staircase should they line up together. She wonders why they are having more children. How do they fit in that small space? Anyway, that is the least of her concerns. They seem happy in their little palace.

The pregnant woman passes by the single lady’s door one day and greets her. She breaks the barrier that has existed in their two worlds. She asks her about a job, any job. She wonders to herself how this heavily pregnant woman will be able to do her laundry. ‘The kids have to eat’, she says and almost jolts her out of her deep thought.

Why not? She asks herself. “How much can you wash my clothes for?”

Two women brought together under very different circumstances with one thing in common- children. One has abundance; the other has a nudging desire to have one.

Between 2008/9 and 2014, according Kenya Demographic Health Surveys (KDHS, 2014), Family Planning uptake increased from 46-58%. Further to that,   the total fertility rate decreased from 4.6 to 3.9 children per woman. All these are good statistically, in that better uptake of reproductive and family health care has led to the reduction of these numbers.

This has been the result of a concerted effort of the midwives and health stakeholders in Kenya. Still there’s more to be done because one in 19 children die before five years, and majority die within the first 24 hours and one week of life.

The Midwives Association of Kenya (MAK) Chairperson, Ms. Louisa Muteti said, that they felt the need to form an independent association, to tailor make their trainings and push agenda specific to midwives. “We acknowledge the issues of understaffing which has been brought about by nurses looking for better opportunities abroad”, she said.

Procter & Gamble’s Commercial Director, Anthony Ngang’a said at the MAK launch that midwives are often ignored in majority of health systems. “They play a critical role in provision of quality and safe maternal health care”, he said. He further emphasized that partnering with Midwives Association of Kenya will place more emphasis on the childbearing cycle.

Revitalization of Midwifery as a profession will ensure more families space their children and bring up healthy families. It would also improve access, affordability, acceptability of maternal and newborn, as well family health care for Kenyan communities.

P&G will focus on advancing midwives’ skills to improve service delivery to expectant mothers. P&G’s Mother and Baby Healthcare Program, has reached approximately 10 million mothers since its inception.

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