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Availability and Quality of Emergency Obstetrical and Newborn Care Services in Kenya – Results of Three Annual Health Facility Assessments

by on November 9, 2017

Availability and Quality of Emergency Obstetrical and Newborn Care Services in Kenya – Results of Three Annual Health Facility AssessmentsPreventing maternal and newborn mortality is a national and global priority. Health facilities serve an important role in providing essential services to manage the leading causes of maternal and newborn mortality. Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), emergency obstetrical and newborn care (EmONC) is an integrated strategy that aims to equip health facilities with the capacity to provide evidence-based, cost-effective interventions to attend to maternal and newborn emergencies.

In 2013, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) received increased funding for maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) programs in Kenya. Recognizing the significant burden of maternal and newborn death in Kenya and that the limited resources could not cover all aspects of MNCH, USAID sought to use the funds in a focused and effective way, by undertaking a national scale-up of EmONC services.

Beginning in 2014, three successive annual cross-sectional surveys of facilities were conducted to assess readiness to provide core EmONC signal functions and availability of essential MNCH equipment and supplies. Between 2014 and 2016, a total of 1,413 health facility assessments were conducted in 18 counties. More than half of the counties (10 out of 18) were included in all 3 assessments. The 2016 assessments included 528 health facilities (380 health centres and dispensaries and 148 hospitals). Health centres and dispensaries comprised approximately three-quarters of the total number of facilities included across the three years.

Notable improvements were observed in the availability of items required to provide EmONC. The target to attain full readiness to provide EmONC, however, is yet to be achieved in most of the focus counties. The findings of this report provide tangible insights into the scale-up counties’ needs and offer a powerful tool for advocacy and rational resource allocation.

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