Kenya: In neighboring Kenya, pregnant women are among those who have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has grappled with escalating Covid-19 cases filling up hospitals with patients lacking ICUs.
A recent health ministry report revealed that a section of pregnant women is afraid of contracting COVID-19 in hospitals opting to deliver their babies at home which has posed another threat to the women in the country.
According to one of the victims, Josephine, a first-time mother, when the labour pains started, was undecided on whether to go to the hospital to deliver due to fear that she might get infected with the deadly virus.
“I was so afraid. I thought maybe I would get infected with the coronavirus at the hospital, or maybe my baby would catch it there,” she said.
However, amidst fear, Josephine eventually decided to give birth at the local health facility where healthcare workers took precautions to keep her safe.
COVID-19 has cast a tall shadow on maternal health in the country according to the government with a report showing the number of expectant women who completed their last antenatal clinic reduced from 58.9 percent in 2019 to 55.1 percent in 2020. This means that more women could be giving birth at home.
The study conducted in selected counties sought to establish the impact of COVID-19 particularly on reproductive, maternal, and newborn healthcare.
Different counties have implemented different measures to tackle the problem. For example, local administrators have registered pregnant women to facilitate their movement during curfew hours or beyond restricted areas.
In Nairobi, the Wheels for Life initiative, set up by the government of Kenya, Amref Health Africa, and digital taxi app Bolt, is aiding the movement of pregnant women during curfew hours.
Across the country, healthcare workers continue to advise mothers to make every effort to deliver in healthcare facilities where they can tackle complications if they arise.
The healthcare facility is believed to be the safest place for mothers to be as they bring new life into the world.