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Investing in the health of Africa's mothers.

Author: 
Kimani M
Source: 
Africa Renewal. 2008 Jan; 21(4):8-11.
Abstract: 

Pumwani Maternity Hospital, in Nairobi, Kenya, is the largest maternal health centre in East and Central Africa. Located close to Mathare and Korogocho, two of Nairobi's biggest slums, the hospital helps some 27,000 women give birth each year. Most are poor and young, between the ages of 14 and 18. The government-run hospital struggles to provide even the most basic services, since it lacks sufficient resources, equipment and staff. "We told patients to buy their own things because of the shortage of supplies," explains Evelyn Mutio, the former head of the hospital's nursing staff. "We told patients to come with gloves, to buy their own syringes, needles, cotton wool and maternity pads." The Pumwani Maternity Hospital exemplifies the state of the health infrastructure in Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), high service costs, lack of trained staff and supplies, poor transport and patients' insufficient knowledge mean that 60 per cent of mothers in sub-Saharan Africa do not have a health worker present during childbirth. That heightens the risks of complications, contributing to greater maternal and child death and disability. (excerpt)

Language: 
Year: 
Region / Country: 
Document Number: 
324428
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