It is just recently that a couple from Nakuru County lost their quintuplets after birth. Stories such as these are common.
Losing a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth is still a difficult subject particularly in our African society. These experiences are linked to stigma, shame and guilt, factors that further affect the psychological state of the mother. It is also a fact that many women who have gone through this fail to receive appropriate and respectful care afterwards. Such women are made to feel that they should stay silent about their grief, after all, miscarriage and stillbirth is viewed as common, or perceived to be unavoidable.
These two health concerns are common across the world. Globally, an estimated 42 percent of all stillbirths are intrapartum, according to the world health organization, which also estimates that 729,000 babies died during labour in 2019 in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, which accounted for 88 percent of all intrapartum stillbirths worldwide. However, miscarriages and stillbirths are not systematically recorded, even in developed countries, suggesting that the numbers could be even higher.
In Kenya, 53 percent of stillbirths occurred during labour and birth, while 47 percent occurred during pregnancy.
Doctor Abraham M Espira, an Obstetrician Gynaecologist, says that these stillbirths are potentially preventable as long as proven interventions that improve the health of mothers and their babies are available and accessed.
The causes of stillbirths in Kenya are no different from those identified in other countries. Around the world, women have varied access to healthcare services, hospitals and clinics. In low and middle income countries such as Kenya, these healthcare facilities are under resourced and understaffed.
With this in mind, it important for the government to improve the country’s health facilities by equipping them, providing medication and employing sufficient doctors.
Morgan Wanyonyi, Communication and Journalism Student at Rongo University.