Africa Health : New technology to reduce pregnancy complications
By: Judith Akolo(KBA):
Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) in a bid to ensure more women are saved from life threatening events during pregnancy and achieve Millennium Development Goal five (MDG5) which is aimed improving maternal health has embraced the PartoPen and Partograph technology that will be used in determining the progress of a pregnancy until the delivery. The new health system will enhance the common labour-monitoring form, the partograph, using a digital pen. The digital partograph system provides real-time data feedback and reinforces birth attendant training, while retaining the paper-and-pen interface currently used by most healthcare workers.
Working with the University of Colorado, KNH has embraced the use of the paper-based system for monitoring maternal labour that has been able to reduce life-threatening complications in pregnancy in low-resource environments.
According to Heather Underwood a PhD candidate at Atlas Institute and who is developing the technology for use mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, the new technology will help to reduce maternal mortality which is currently very high in Sub Saharan Africa.
"I am encouraged by the uptake of new technology by staff at the KNH and with this, the realization of millennium development goal number five is possible," said Underwood.
The Assistant Director at KNH Dr. John Ong'ech, said the new technology will help to reduce the high rate of death among mothers who die of preventable maternal causes.
"Most of the deaths occur due to late referral but since this new technology is up to date, and real-time it will help us to save the lives of mothers," said Dr. Ong'ech.
The Specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist noted that among five major causes of death in expectant mothers is obstructed labour which he said can be predetermined by the use of the PartoPen and Partograph technology.
He said maternal mortality rates in Kenya currently stand at 480 per every 1000, adding the figures are higher in the rural areas where many women are delivered by traditional birth attendants.
"Kenyatta National Hospital being both a referral and a training institution will see to it that this technology is replicated to other healthcare institutions in the country through training of the nurses and acquiring of the technology by the Ministry of Health," he added.
The nurse in-charge of the labour ward at KNH Wangeci Wang'ombe noted that with the new technology the work at the labour unit will be better streamlined and ensure better health for expectant mothers that out of 1000 live births in Kenya.