(VIDEO) How Afya Halisi’s mother-to-mother support groups curbs maternal mortality

Mother Support Groups program at Kasembo village in Migori County

By MN Reporter

At Saro dispensary in Suna East constituency, the medics have been relying on groups of mothers to help spur admission.

The dispensary Nursing Officer Marceline Akinyi said they have been working closely with group of women in mother-to-mother support group.

“As medics we first had a training with Afya Halisi on how to work with women groups in encouraging them to visit hospitals and maintain child friendly activities,” Akinyi said.

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Mother Support Groups program (MSGs) is part of the national strategy of improving infant and young child nutrition in Kenya.

“The groups have also made Community Health Volunteers work to be easier as they can easily reach a group of women through their leaders,’ she said.

Apart from meeting to encourage each other, group members have also been trained on child friendly behaviour like 100 per cent lactation for six months, nutrition and always visiting hospital during pregnancy.

Saro dispensary Nursing Officer Marceline Akinyi

Josephine Obonyo the secretary of Kaembo Mother-To-Mother Support group said they have increased the number of mothers who seek ante and post natal care in hospitals.

“The group has also benefitted from soap making training as a source of income, and starting and maintaining kitchen gardens to boost nutrition,” Obonyo said.

She said the groups close knit has helped in ensuring close work relations with Saro dispensary.

In Kenya, according to data from Ministry of Health malnutrition is an underlying cause in more than 50 per cent of all deaths among children, mostly due to increased susceptibility to and severity of common infectious diseases.

Kenya is among the countries with the highest child mortality rate in the world and still lack behind in goals set by the world.

An annual health and nutrition survey in Laisamis sub-county from September 2015, “The Smart Study”, showed that 32.7% of children 6–59 months of age were underweight, that 25.9% were stunted and that 23.7% were wasted.

Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM), increased to 23.7% in September 2015 from a percentage of 18.2% in July 2014.