Alumni Events

September 1, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Wealth & Poverty in Africa | Maternal and Child Health Care Delivery in Kenya, Sept. 24

The Wealth in Poverty Focus on Africa series presents Ohio University alum Aggrey Otieno on “Towards Improving Maternal and Child Health Care Delivery in Korogocho Slums, Nairobi, Kenya” on Sept 24 from 4:10-5:30 p.m. in Grover W111.

Otieno AAbstract: In Kenya, maternal and child health is a critical health area where close collaboration between community members and the medical fraternity should be encouraged in order to save lives. According to the 2009 Kenya Demographic Health Survey, 57 percent of births in Kenya take place at home, and of those, 28 percent are assisted by a traditional birth attendant. The Kenyan government has increasingly encouraged women to deliver in hospitals, as home deliveries by unskilled traditional birth attendants are considered to be a major contributor to maternal deaths. The last demographic survey released by the government in 2009 puts maternal death rates at 448 per 100,000 live births. But according to Ziraba, Madise and Kyobutungi (2009), the maternal mortality ratio for Korogocho slum is 706 deaths per 100,000 live births. Shortages of skilled health workers in Kenya, particularly in remote and resource-constrained communities such as Korogocho slums, are a key element of the growing human resources crisis within the health sector (Otieno, 2012a).

While this multi-faceted crisis must be addressed through multiple measures, one strategy identified by the World Health Organization is “task shifting” – the delegation of tasks to the least-educated level of workers that can perform them successfully. In this context, the concept of empowering community members to render certain basic health services to their communities has regained currency in Kenya. As a result, Aggrey Willis Otieno, an alumnus of Ohio University, has been implementing maternal and child health interventions in Korogocho that support traditional birth attendants in Korogocho slums to evolve into safe delivery advocates. These advocates have been training and educating reproductive age women on maternal and child health with the intention of helping women with high risk pregnancies to deliver under the care of skilled birth attendants. The safe delivery advocates also have mobilized and organized women into support groups through which reproductive age women have been empowered with reproductive health information and supported to carry out community awareness through participatory community workshops, community radio and to engage policy makers on policy advocacy. Each advocate has been assigned to a health facility, and supported to accompany women with high risk pregnancies to the health centers. The project has significantly improved maternal and child health care delivery in Korogocho. Since 2011; 1891 pregnant women have been supported to deliver safely in hospitals; 2001 children have had access to healthy and nutritious food and 1891 infants been fully vaccinated. Through the maternal and child health project policy advocacy efforts, a new hospital has also been built in Korogocho, and is currently offering free maternity services to Korogocho women.

Otieno is the 2012-14 Rolex Laureate and the 2013 African Children Hero award winner. He is an alumnus of Moi University, and a former Ford Foundation fellow at Ohio University, USA. He is an mHealth geek, and expert in communication and development with immense experience in international development, community media development, health communication, democratic governance, rights based programming and research with significant exposure in resource mobilization, project design, management, monitoring and evaluation. Otieno’s devotion is to provoke the poor and marginalized into conceptualizing ideas, developing and implementing strategies that strengthen their participation in fighting injustices and inequalities that cause poverty. He believes in the goodness of people and has been part of numerous initiatives in search of a better world that is free of injustices, inequalities and all forms of human rights violation. He has been the engine that ignited several projects in Kenya. For example, he has initiated anti-child trafficking project, school sponsorship project, community media projects, telemedicine, empowered families of deaf children to advocate for the rights of their deaf children, supported various income generating projects for the urban poor amongst others. In his work, Otieno also has carried out extensive research on children and women in Kenya. He is the author of “Condemning women to early graves: Innovating new approaches to combating maternal and neonatal mortality in Kenya” and “Improving Health Communications in Kenya: A feasibility study on engaging Frontline Health workers in Using Mobile Technology. When not immersed in the world of communication & development, Otieno likes to analyze political, economic and social events around him. One day when he is done with the politics of development, he plans to go into the development of politics in Kenya.Wealth & Poverty theme

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