In order to eliminate preventable maternal and perinatal mortality, several measures have been taken by the Kenyan Government through the Ministry of Health. They include:
- scaling up training of Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Care countrywide
- eliminating user fees for maternity services through the Free Maternity Services Initiative led by The President of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta
- instituting maternal and perinatal death surveillance and response mechanisms
Kenya recently developed comprehensive national MPDSR guidelines. MPDSR, however, is not new to the Kenyan health system. In 2004, maternal deaths were declared a notifiable event which led to the implementation of maternal death reviews at health facilities. Maternal death reviews are the foundation to MPDSR while perinatal death reviews are less developed.
With the launch of the National MPDSR guidelines – 2016, Kenya is taking a phased approach in implementing the “P” in MPDSR. The implementation has recently begun in facilities with a low burden of maternal morbidity and mortality. It is noted that in health facilities with low maternal death occurrence, perinatal deaths remain quite high.
Murang’a County Referral Hospital is one such facility, with a low burden of maternal mortality but a persistently high perinatal mortality rate. At Murang’a County Referral Hospital, the (facility-level) MPDSR committee holds monthly meetings to discuss each case of perinatal mortality. The case files are usually accompanied by a review of the maternal file. The team reviews each case individually discussing the clinical care and health system factors that contributed to the death. The recommendations are well documented and followed up in the next meeting.
The Ministry of Health is working with the facility, sub-county and county teams to monitor the response to the recommendations made during perinatal death reviews.
COUNTY FOCUS: BUNGOMA COUNTY
The Maternal and Newborn Improvement (MANI) project supports six sub-counties in the roll out of MPDSR within and across 42 facilities in Bungoma County. The national maternal death review (MDR) and perinatal death review (PDR) tools are regularly used at these facilities. Narrative qualitative analyses describing the events of each maternal and perinatal case were introduced in September 2015 and are reviewed on a monthly basis.
The 42 facilities have received ongoing support through trainings, mentorship and supportive-supervisory visits to identify maternal and perinatal deaths, conduct reviews and analyse probable causes of death.
The MPDSR committees in six sub-counties meet quarterly to discuss feasible and immediate interventions that are within the capacity of the sub-county or facility levels to apply remedial solutions to each cause of death.
|“…The MPDSR reviews have improved our teamwork, both amongst ourselves and even interdepartmental collaboration. Everyone involved in the care of mothers and newborns are involved in the MPDSR committee deliberation…” (Webuye staff about MPDSR meetings)
From September to December 2015 and April to June 2016, there were reported increases in the number of facilities with functional MPDSR committees from 20 to 42. From the committees that met, 33 facilities made necessary changes to service provision and/or management practices based on MPDR findings between April and June 2016; an increase from two facilities between September and December 2015.
While the percentage of maternal deaths that were reviewed and uploaded to the District Health Information System (DHIS) stayed constant at 100% from September 2015 to June 2016, perinatal deaths reviewed and uploaded to the DHIS increased from 54% to 67%, over the respective quarterly periods.
SUB-FOCUS: WEBUYE HOSPITAL
Webuye hospital has the second highest number of maternal and perinatal deaths in Bungoma County. With the roll out of the new 2015 Kenya National Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response Guidelines, there has been substantial progress to review perinatal causes of death to inform the quality of care.
The facility-MPDSR committee at Webuye hospital was established in October 2015 with the support of the MANI project and Bungoma County Health Management Team (CHMT). Prior to this, maternal and perinatal deaths were seldom reviewed, collaboration between maternal and newborn health departments was particularly low and record keeping was poor. As such, perinatal deaths were infrequently accounted for and the true causes of death rarely known.
The MPDSR committee at Webuye holds monthly review meetings. During the initial stages of these meetings, discrepancies were identified between the Ministry of Health PDR forms and the DHIS, preventing PDR data from being uploaded to the DHIS system. As a result, the Webuye team supported the standardisation of the PDR tools in January 2016. The PDR form has since been updated and pretested. The review and upload of PDR findings have increased since the new PDR tool was introduced. For each quarterly period from September 2015 to June 2016, there were marked increases from 44% to 100%, respectively.
Please visit here to read the country update for Kenya from March 2016.
Acknowledgements: The national update was prepared and reviewed Dr Wangui Muthigani, Program Manager- Maternal and Newborn Health at Ministry of Health in Kenya. The update for Bungoma county was developed based on feedback from Mr Peter Ken Kaimenyi, Maternal and Newborn Health Technical Advisor at MANI Project funded by UK Aid; two MANI Project abstracts accepted for presentation at the Kenya Midwives Annual Scientific Conference 2016; and the MANI Project power-point presentation for the Kenya Midwives Annual Scientific Conference 2016.