A continuing challenge in the Ex-Lewa region, and in Kenya in general, is the development of a culture where giving birth takes place in a hospital. The country is steadily increasing the number of “in hospital births”, but there are still a large number of births taking place at home. One of the main reasons for this is often the large distance to equipped maternity wards, but it is also connected to tradition.
The topic of home births is an interesting one, seen in relation to Sweden where hospital births have been the norm for several decades. Now that is changing; there is an increasing trend for home births largely in response to maternity wards, in thinly populated areas, closing down.
So the needs are the same: access to qualified help when giving birth. Which is hard to ensure outside a proper birthing clinic.
There is a long tradition of midwives in many rural areas of Kenya, but if something goes wrong proper help can be many miles away, with fatal results.
We have seen a slow increase in births taking place at Gundua Health Centre, and a larger increase in women coming in for check-ups during pregnancy. Now further incitive has been added, in the form of 'postnatal bags' from Do Right. These contain some essential baby care products and information wich will be given to women who deliver at the clinic.
We believe that the bags will encourage more women to consider giving birth at the clinic, which results in healthier moms and babies. This is a crucial part in balancing population growth, because when more children survive, family planning becomes an option.