To reduce complications and deaths during delivery, Meru County government has rolled out an initiative to rally pregnant mothers to seek antenatal care.
This initiative is a collaboration between the county government and Child, an organization that champions maternal and newborn health.
This initiative dubbed ‘Team mum pregnant women groups aims to decrease the risk of complications during and after birth.
Additionally, it seeks to increase skilled delivery in a county where more than 25 percent of mothers deliver without supervision from skilled birth attendants.
This partnership with Child.Org rallies pregnant women in areas where ANC coverage is low to form support groups. The groups are led by a community health worker and linked to a nearby health facility. This encourages women to share knowledge and challenges, as well as encourage each other to seek medical care,
Community Health Promoters based at health facilities will recruit and register mothers during the early stages of pregnancy. The women’s group consists of 7-15 members from the same locality. They will be meeting every two weeks for 10 weeks to ensure they are closely monitored and given health information
According to data from the Kenya Health Information System (KHIS), about 80 percent of pregnant mothers in the county attend the first ANC visit and only 35 percent make it to the fourth clinic.
The data also shows that only 41 percent of mothers in Meru have access to postnatal care within two days of delivery.
Further, KDHS report indicated that another 11 percent of infants in Meru County are underweight while six percent were found to be malnourished.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends at least four ANC visits but only 35 percent of pregnant mothers in Meru receive antenatal care at least four times.