Since October 2017, Curamericas Global has partnered with the Ministry of Health and Ronald McDonald House Charities to reduce the number of moms and babies dying from preventable causes in Kisii County, Kenya. While initial assumptions by officials were that there were not that many deaths, our census-based data showed that mothers were dying at rates 3 times the national average. Since our project began, we have reduced maternal death by over 70%, saving lives of mothers. What happens when a mom lives instead of dies? She continues to be the center of her family, holding it together, and making her family stronger.
Many maternal deaths in Kisii are caused by a lack of knowledge on emergency response and giving birth without a medical professional This project aims to reduce maternal death by 50% by increasing health facility delivery and improving the knowledge and skills of mothers, traditional birth attendants (midwives) and health facility staff. Before our project, health facilities were open only 9am to 5pm on weekdays. Unfortunately births don’t only occur on this schedule. Curamericas is committed to keep facilities open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, giving every mother the opportunity for a safe delivery. At the start of the project, there was an average of 4 births per month at our partner health facility, a year later we have seen nearly 300. We attribute this success to regular, community-led health outreach, health facility improvements, and partnership with the county government.
In 2019, Curamericas Global and our partners continue to make strides in improving the healthcare in Kisii. Across 53 partner communities, we reach 1,183 mothers and pregnant women with regular health education and home visits. We also provide regular training to 285 community leaders, health volunteers, medical professionals and government officials. This year we have served over 23,000 people, and plan to increase our project to reach 40,o00 in 2020! At the beginning of the project, roughly 1 out of 3 women gave birth in her home. As a result of training, community engagement, education, and support, 95% of deliveries took place at a health facility with a skilled birth attendant.
In 2020, working in close partnership with the Kisii County MOH we served a population of 35,960. Our partners identified three existing government clinics accessible to the population, but which were grossly underutilized due to stock outs, lack of infrastructure and lack of 24/7 culturally-sensitive services. Utilizing our Community Birthing Center (CBC) Manual and its Rapid CBC Assessment Tool, we partnered with the communities and the government to adapt these clinics to the CBC model, adding nursing staff to enable 24/7 services, creating woman-friendly birthing spaces to the communities’ specifications, and installing battery-backed solar panels to ensure 24/7 electricity. We mobilized the communities to deploy health committees, community health volunteers, and mother peer educators bringing health education to every doorstep. The result – maternal mortality decreased from 9 maternal deaths/year, a Maternal Mortality Ratio of 1122 (In the US the MMR = 17), to 0 deaths in 2020, a reduction of 100%. Neonatal mortality declined 42%. In addition, our innovative sexual/reproductive health curriculum reached 470 young adolescents. While reduced funding has required a scale-back of some aspects of the project, the government is sustaining the CBCs, whose life-saving work continues.
Read our full results here – MCH_Grantee_Three_Year_Summary_Curamericas Final
Curamericas Global’s Strategy
Curamericas Global provide training to mothers and child caretakers on hand washing, water treatment and storage, proper feces disposal, and the treatment of diarrheal disease through educational home visits and the use of Community Health Promoters.
Kisii County is situated in the south-western part of Kenya and shares common borders with Nyamira County to the North East, Narok County to the South, and Homabay and Migori Counties to the West.
Kisii County spends slightly less per capita on health than the national average ($14.94 versus $15.95 annually). The number of health personnel per capita is far below the national average with 21 nurses, 3 doctors, and 10 clinical officers per 100,000 people in Kisii compared to 55 nurses, ten doctors, and 21 clinical officers per 100,000 nationally. The population in Kisii County is quite dense, with approximately 2,800 people per sq. mile. For comparison, the state of North Carolina is 211 per sq. mile. In Kisii most homes consist of mud walls and aluminum roofs. There is limited health care available in communities and health facilities often lack basic infrastructure (like running water), supplies and staff.
Maternal and Child Health in Kisii County:
In 2011, the reported rate for health facility delivery was 58%. Data for that same year showed that 41% mothers exclusively breastfed their children. The county has a high new infection rate of HIV/AIDS of 8.7%. In addition, there is a high infection rate rate of malaria, affecting one in five people annually.
The reported child mortality rate for Kisii County is 60 per 1,000 live births and the infant mortality rate is 43 per 1,000 live births, of which 23 per 1,000 of these deaths are neonatal. Malnutrition in children is of specific concern. The 2011, 23% of children under age five were underweight and 35% were stunted. In 2014, 72% of children were fully immunized.
Common causes of morbidity in adults and children include malaria, diarrhea, skin diseases, and respiratory infections. Acute respiratory infections (ARI) are the leading cause of morbidity in children under age five, followed by malaria and diarrhea.
Our Public Health Heroes, Kevin Kayondo and Anne Nyanweso have established the Kisii Konya Oroiboro Project (KIKOP). KIKOP’s ground-breaking collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the local communities with a combined population of 36,000 people has reduced the number of both maternal deaths from 9 in year 1 to 0 in year 3 of our recent project there, and the number of neonatal deaths from 37 to 14 by creating community cultures of health and turning decrepit under-used government clinics into thriving community health centers.
For more information about our work in Kenya, please contact us toll-free at (877)510-4787 or email our office at [email protected].