CMMB Impact Report — Fall 2021
A Message from our Kenya Country Director:
For CMMB Staff in Kenya, like so many others, the past year has disrupted every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally, impacting our local and global community. We have experienced physical, emotional, and spiritual stresses. Fear and grief are also affecting staff as we have lost family members and colleagues. COVID-19 has added layers of complexity as we try to limit the spread of the virus while continuing to address the core health needs in our communities.
In the area of children’s health, there has been a steady decline in infant and under-5 mortality rates over the years due to the mass vaccination and free insecticide-treated bed net programs. Yet, Kenya still suffers from high rates of infant and maternal mortality.
To reduce maternal and child illness and death, CMMB Kenya uses several training approaches to build the skillsets and competencies of healthcare workers. This year alone, we trained 220 healthcare workers to strengthen their capacity in emergency obstetrics, newborn care, and early essential care of babies. We worked together with partner health facilities known to have exceptional newborn units to formalize best practices and adopt them into our maternal and child health (MCH) program.
Working with Kitui County Ministry of Health, the program engaged community healthcare workers (CHWs) to build awareness for the prevention of COVID-19, and increased prenatal care visits and facility deliveries. We also worked to strengthen our data sharing, networking, and communication with the sub-county health committees for improved evidence-based decision making and quality of care problem solving.
One of our most important undertakings this year has been the continuation of infrastructure improvements for maternal and child health. So far, we have built, equipped, and staffed three maternity wards with delivery rooms and postnatal care rooms. CMMB Kenya renovated a maternity home for pregnant women who were identified as at higher risk and for women who face difficulty accessing care due to the long distances they must travel. The program has also equipped and staffed two state-of-the-art newborn units (NBU). This action alone has doubled the capacity of the entire county for newborns in need of urgent medical attention.
The work done by CMMB Kenya has catalyzed and influenced county government planning, action, and policy.
The work done by CMMB Kenya has catalyzed and influenced county government planning, action, and policy. We have incentivized facility-level childbirth by providing mothers who deliver at the facility with “mama packs”—a package of essential supplies for taking care of a newborn at home in a resource-poor setting. These mama packs were introduced into the maternity wards by CMMB Kenya.
There is an urgent need to invest more resources and capacity in rural areas as we work to decrease morbidity and mortality among pregnant women and children under the age of five years in Kitui South. We must increase our efforts to prevent COVID-19 infections, especially among the most vulnerable groups. At the same time, we must make sure that attending to the pandemic does not roll back the gains made in safe childbirth and reduction of child mortality, especially in the postnatal period. With our partners, we will continue to increase our efforts, following a clear vision, joint leadership, and continuous learning from our community-based MCH programming.
Dr. James Kisia