Factors contributing to high infant mortality rate in Coastal Region: the case of Kwale District
Dzombo, Judith N
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to explore the factors contributing to the high infant mortality rate in the Coastal region, Kwale district. Kenya's infant mortality rate is 52 per 1,000 live births. This implies that 1 in every 19 children born in Kenya dies before its first birthday (Central Bureau of Statistics, 2008). While Nationally Kenya's infant mortality has dropped by 32 percent; from 77 deaths per 1,000 in the KDHS 2003 survey to 52 deaths per 1,000 in the 2008-09 survey, Coast Province rate has remained fairly stagnant; from 78 deaths per 1,000 in the KDHS 2003 survey to 71 deaths per 1,000 in the 2008-09 survey (Central Bureau of Statistics, 2008). This decrease was even less significant in K wale District. Existing studies on child health in Kenya have focused on medical causes of infant and child mortality (McElroy etal 2001) and factors associated with children under-five mortality (Hill, 2001 and Mutunga 2004). It is to the researcher's knowledge that factors contributing to infant deaths had not been researched exhaustively; especially in Kwale district of Coast Province as a result health management teams have implemented interventions based on information and studies from other regions. This was a cross - sectional survey that targeted 2 sets of mothers; mothers with children under one year visiting health facilities and mothers with children who were born and died before reaching their first year of life during the period of January 2009 - December 2010. The quantitative data generated was analyzed using SPSS version 12.0. Qualitative data was categorized and summarized according to themes and described. Out of 90 mothers that were interviewed, 3 FGDs that were conducted and questionnaires administered to 7 health care providers; 96.7% of the mothers are women with low literacy levels but have some knowledge on health acquired from informal settings; health talks given at the health facility. Unsafe cultural practices within some households have not been completely abandoned. Husbands (male) are the key decision makers of health issues, in all types of families (nuclear and extended), accounting for 60% of the families. A total of 68.1 % of the mothers do not initiate breastfeeding within the first hour after child birth, and 47.8% are not aware of the importance of breastfeeding and the risks that result to lack of appropriate breastfeeding. A total of 76.7% of the families leave with an average income of less than Ksh. 5000/- per month. Health facilities are inaccessible and have inadequate supplies to match the workload. In spite of these challenges mothers seem to be satisfied with the services provided in these health facilities. The researcher recommends that health talks conducted at the health facility and community should concentrate on issues of breastfeeding, danger signs that indicate a child's illness and sensitization on service delivery in their nearest health facility, targeting both male and female members of the community. Health facilities should also source for funds from. stakeholders, through proposals to be able to expand health services in the health facilities in terms of establishing laboratories, maternity and delivery rooms and 24 - 48 hour observation rooms. Health care providers should 'operate in shifts or make the community aware that they are always oneall when the health facility has been closed for the day. This in tum, will ensure availability of services for 24 hours.