Research results published in January 2010 showed that 2,635 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer out of which 2,111 died from the disease. This is also unexceptionally high rates which call for a more concerted focus on women’s health.
The same research findings also showed that maternal mortality remains unacceptably high. 1 in 22 women risks dying from treatable or preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth over the course of her lifetime. 7,700 families lost their mothers and for some she was a bread winner. The Government ratio of maternal death is 414 deaths per 100,000 live births which according to the survey is on the increase. Some of the causes includes:
- 60% of women give birth under unskilled care at home and this is due to delay in transport or no transport at all;
- Lack of proper infrastructure;
- Access to health facilities – lives are lost on the way to health centres. Women and children are more vulnerable and likely to lose their lives in seeking treatment. Majority of rural dwellers have to walk for miles to reach the nearest centre and may fail to get treatment;
- Access to either free or affordable treatment, with over 56% of the population (Kenya) living below the poverty line, majority do not have spare change for medicine. Their priorities are more likely to be to put food on the table rather than seek comprehensive care;
- Access to screening facilities either free or affordable to most women;
- Access to proper medication/medicine – there are a lot of cheap counterfeit medicine on the market/chemists;
- Lack of medical supplies – the research indicated that only a quarter of hospitals have constant supply of medicines;
- There is lack of oxygen: anaesthetic equipment research says this is due to low budget allocations which brings us back to the importance of gender budgeting;
- ROCL is involved in carrying out awareness raising sessions on reproductive health, sexual health, breast cancer, teenage pregnancy, maternal health, cervical cancer, proper hygiene and looking at undertaking research in women’s health to inform and influence policy. We believe in addressing the key contributory factors to ensure women enjoy better and improved health care.
We plan to liaise with and undertake campaigns with like-minded partners and stakeholders including government agencies to initiate programmes that address the health needs of women and young people and jointly initiate timely interventions.
ROCL has a laid down a plan to tap into the training of female College and University students from targeted areas as role models and peer educators. We hope that through peer mentoring we will support transition, attainment, attendance and behaviour. We aim to challenge and change where need be.