[Tragic] Is Kenya The Risky Place To Give Birth?



The hospital in a remote location in Kenya has no advanced facilities to help pregnant women who enter into labor.  Fardowsa Abdi, a 25-year-old, faced the situation when she entered into labor.  Of course, she lives in Mandera county, the most dangerous place in the world to give birth.

  • She had to travel to the hospital for about 300 km as no medical facilities were available close to her home
  • She suffered hemorrhage after a caesarian section.
  • She winces in pain as she nurses her baby.

 Ruth Sambu, a maternity nurse at Mandera County Referral Hospital, commented: “It’s tragic. And then the worst part is that, as a person who is knowledgeable, there is little you can do.”

Women’s activist Ubah Ibrahim says, “Nobody talks about it. The reason as to why (it is so dangerous to give birth) — is mostly because of female circumcision. Every day it happens.  Also, there are very few doctors left in Mandera because of insecurity and not many good facilities.”


  • Women here are nearly ten times more likely to die in childbirth than they are in Afghanistan.
  • It’s 135 times more dangerous to be pregnant here than in the United States.
  • About 38 mothers die in childbirth in Mandera County for every 1,000 live births, according to the United Nations — two to three women a day.

Dozens of Civilians were killed in the attacks by the al-Qaeda-linked insurgent group Al-Shabaab.  Thus, Humanitarian agencies and international donors, including the World Food Programme, have withdrawn support due to the insecurity.

Also, Female genital mutilation is common in this region that is performed on girls as young as nine years old.  The effect of this mutilation can be seen during childbirth, which brings terrible consequences.  If the baby gets stuck, the child and possibly the mother will die.

An initiative called “Beyond Zero” launched by the U.N. Population Fund, U.N. Development Program and Kenyan First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s office provides some relief to the women in Kenya.  They have donated the fully equipped mobile maternity clinic to nearly 32 of Kenya’s 47 counties. It has benefitted more than 130,000 women and children in Kenya.

Source: CNN