Ministry steps up surveillance of maternal, infant and child deaths



NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1– A Committee that has been tasked with monitoring maternal, infant and child deaths in Kenya, with a view of protecting and fastracking the gains attained in their reduction has been inaugurated.

Speaking during the induction ceremony on Friday morning, Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu said that the national Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance Response (MPDSR) Committee will provide timely data that will be used to strengthen data collection for the provision of evidence based decisions.

He explained that the committee would serve as a ministerial advisory team that will steer the response component of maternal & perinatal deaths.

“We will not stop until we have zero preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths,” he emphasized.

Dr. Mailu also announced that the Committee’s report would be presented to the National Assembly and Senate health committees each year.

“The role of the national MPDSR Committee is to provide oversight and to promote the notification, review and response to all maternal and perinatal deaths in Kenya,” he observed.

The Committee will consist of officials drawn from the Ministry of Health, regulatory bodies, professional societies and development partners.

Although Kenya has made tremendous gains in maternal, infant and child health, Dr. Mailu revealed that the Millennium Development Goals in as far as maternal and child health were concerned had not yet been attained.

“Access to quality reproductive health services remains a challenge as economic and geographical inequalities persist,” he said.

Six out of 10 expectant mothers in Kenya currently receive skilled care during child birth and more than half receive postnatal care.

Further, child mortality has declined by 20 percent since 2008 and the total fertility rate in Kenya has reduced to less than four children per woman.

“Investing in reproductive maternal newborn child and adolescent health is key to the attainment of Vision 2030,” explained the CS.

The inauguration ceremony also saw the Cabinet Secretary launch reproductive health documents and hand over an EXCELL award that Kenya was presented with for being the only country that has attained and surpassed her globally set targets in family planning.

“These reproductive health documents lay strategic policy directions that are evidence based, building on the lessons learnt from the previous policies and also tapping into the global knowledge in terms of what works,” Dr. Mailu highlighted.

The documents further lay the framework for enhancing partnerships between government, private sector, nongovernmental organizations and civil societies.