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Kenya has made incredible progress in reducing child deaths, with a 30 percent decline in child and infant mortality recorded between the last two Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 2003 and 2008. Improvements in antenatal care, vaccinations, and malaria control have helped to drive these trends. At the same time, mothers and babies still face high risks during and around childbirth. The leading killers of children (pneumonia, diarrhea, AIDS, and malaria) are preventable and treatable, but the needed interventions often do not reach the poorest and most vulnerable.
In support of the objectives of the Government of Kenya, USAID strives to create an environment where women have safer pregnancies and deliveries, and young children receive the care they need to grow, develop and thrive.
Maternal and Child Health
The Government of Kenya has prioritized improving the health of mothers and young children, most notably with the policy to provide free maternal and child health care nationwide and scale-up basic emergency obstetrical care. USAID is supporting this effort by providing health worker training for antenatal care, emergency obstetric and essential care, and key maternal health interventions such as active management of third stage of labor. Health activities also improve the availability and affordability of health commodities and technologies that save and protect lives, and ensure that a policy framework is in place to support family health.
The integrated AIDS, Population, and Health program supports high-quality care delivery at facilities throughout Kenya with locations in every county. The facilities are “one-stop shops,” offering comprehensive health services to mothers and children in the same place. At the community level, USAID supports the Government of Kenya’s strategy to bring cost-effective child survival interventions close to home. By working with community health workers and units, we promote vitamin A supplementation, immunization, prevention and treatment of pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria–all of which are high-impact interventions for improving survival and quality of life for children. Activities targeted at the household level are planned and coordinated with those affecting communities as a whole; for example, linking hand washing behavior change messages to improvements in clean water infrastructure.
The Kenyan Government has expanded services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS as part of comprehensive antenatal care services at most public health facilities. Combined with greater treatment coverage overall, mother-to-child transmission rates have dropped significantly as a result, from a high of 28.3 percent in 2005 to 8.5 percent in 2012. USAID supports prevention of mother to child transmission at health facilities not covered by the Government’s efforts, particularly at private health facilities.
USAID Kenya’s family planning program has existed for over thirty years. Kenya was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to establish a national family planning program and continues to demonstrate its commitment to empowering families to plan and space the birth of their children. The Government of Kenya has recently renewed its commitment to family planning, citing it as a crucial investment in economic growth and as an important strategy for reducing maternal and newborn deaths.
USAID is a lead donor in family planning, promoting the benefits and modern methods available to couples of childbearing age so they are able to make informed reproductive health decisions. We are improving service delivery at the facility and community level, emphasizing the reduction on unmet need and the scale-up of long-acting and permanent methods. Family planning interventions are integrated into maternal and child health and HIV services, allowing couples to more easily access information and services for planning and spacing healthy births. Outreach and communication strategies target individuals and communities with a particular focus on youth and youth-serving organizations.
For more information:
P.O. Box 629
Tel: + 254 8622000
Office of Population and Health USAID/Kenya
P.O. Box 629
Tel: + 254 8622000
Updated September 2013
Last updated: September 12, 2013