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Better Healthcare for Kisumu!

The European Union, together with the Austrian Development Cooperation and partners CARE, Family Health Options Kenya and Kenyan Red Cross Society, is improving integrated family healthcare in Kisumu County.

Kenya’s maternal mortality remains unacceptably high, far above the WHO rating, and Kisumu County is ranked among the ten counties with the highest maternal mortality ratio in Kenya. According to UNFPA, 495 out of 100,000 mothers are dying from child birth and the under-five mortality still stands at 79 out of 1,000 children (UNFPA Kenya).

CARE Kenya, in partnership with the Kenya Red Cross Society and Family Health Options Kenya, was awarded a grant by the European Union, with co-funding from the Austrian Development Cooperation and CARE, to improve maternal and child health, sexual reproductive health, family planning and the nutritional status of communities living within Manyatta and Nyalenda in Kisumu County for a period of three years (November 2014 – October 2017).

Within the project duration, the project reached out to 133,505 direct beneficiaries and 150,891 indirect beneficiaries, including women of reproductive age, pregnant women, children under five as well as men and boys. Men, women and adolescents in the Kisumu slums are now aware and empowered to take part in health decision making, to demand accountability and quality health services and to take up health conducive practices. Furthermore, non-state and state health actors now have greater capacity and the skills to respond and meet the needs on maternal, newborn & child health, family planning, sexual & reproductive health and nutrition. 

Some of the activities that had the strongest impact on the beneficiaries included:

  • Mapping of pregnant and lactating women: The project team initiated periodic mapping of pregnant mothers to be able to inform them and follow up with them more easily. One of the most successful activities was the development of the individual birth plan, which helped pregnant women and health care providers avert maternal deaths.
  • Nutritional screening for children: The screenings informed health care providers of numerous cases of children needing nutritional supplements to correct stunting, underweight and even child obesity.
  • Establishment of mother to mother support groups: The project team initiated mother-to-mother support groups for women to discuss challenges within the group and work on solutions together.
  • Open mother’s days: These were specific sessions whereby all pregnant mothers were taken through a tour of the health facilities to help them develop their individual birth plan and chose their place of delivery.