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Health CS Urges Urgent Action on World Prematurity Day to Combat Neonatal Mortality

Makueni, Kenya - 17th November 2017 -  Health CS Nakhumicha S. Wafula has emphasized the urgent need to address neonatal mortality, especially among premature births, on World Prematurity Day. 

In a speech read by Acting Director General Dr. Patrick Amoth, and hosted by Makueni Governor Mutula Kalonzo, and First Lady Anita Mutula, the CS highlighted the vulnerability of preterm infants within their first 28 days and shared concerning statistics revealing 127,500 premature births in 2020, constituting 12% of live births, and contributing significantly to neonatal deaths. 

She said Kenya aims to reduce the current rate of 21 deaths per 1,000 live births to less than 12 by 2030.

Globally, neonatal mortality stands at 18 per 1,000 live births, with Sub-Saharan Africa reporting the highest rate (27 deaths per 1,000 live births), accounting for 43% of global newborn deaths. 

Kenya targets to lower its current rate of 21 deaths per 1,000 live births to <12 by 2030, aligning with Sustainable Development Goals. Strategies like Kangaroo Mother Care & enhanced healthcare worker training aim to reduce neonatal mortality. Collaborative efforts with community health promoters are essential to drive this change said the CS. 

The CS highlighted the Ministry's commitment to guideline development and healthcare worker training for enhanced neonatal care. Dr. Amoth also stressed the imperative of collaborative efforts engaging community health promoters to encourage better health-seeking behaviors and effectively reduce neonatal mortality rates. 

Acknowledging the pivotal role of partners in advancing maternal and child healthcare, CS Nakhumicha urged united action to implement priority interventions outlined in action plans as a concerted effort to combat neonatal mortality