Kenya unable to account for 40,000 births over covid-19
London, August 17, 2020 (AltAfrica)-More Kenyan women are giving birth at home and deaths are not being reported to authorities due to fear of Covid-19, new data released by the government shows.
As Kenya and the rest of the world reel from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, pregnant women, afraid to contract the disease in hospitals or unable to access health facilities due to movement restrictions, have opted to deliver their babies at home.
The data from the CRS states that about 40,000 births could not be accounted for in May, with the country registering only 71, 502 this year as compared to 110, 792 the same month in 2019. This was a 35.3 per cent drop.
According to the data from Civil Registration Services (CRS), the number of registered births has dropped by 13.3 per cent and deaths reduced by 15 per cent respectively since the country recorded its first covid-19 cases on March 13.
Director of Civil Registration Services Janet Mucheru said there was a similar drop in April with a decline of 18, 313 registered births from 100,896 in 2019 to 82,318 this year.
Ms Mucheru told the Nation that the drop was detected after few births were being registered indicating more women were giving birth at home.
“This is a clear sign that expectant mothers are reverting to the use of traditional birth attendants, who are ill-equipped for complications during delivery, should they occur,” she said.
She adds: “I am afraid that if the government is going to use the data, then some Kenyans might be left out because we will not have the right information and when the schools open, more people would be applying for the birth certificates.”
The data further revealed that between March and May, there was clear drop in the number of registered deaths, an indication that people could be dying at home and the deaths are not registered.
From the statistics, the number of registered deaths in May dropped from 16,312 in 2019 to 10,776 in 2020. In March, when the country recorded its first case of the new coronavirus, a 5,000 drop in the number of deaths was recorded from 19,763 registered in 2019 in the same period.
Ms Mucheru attributed the drop in the number of registered births to the high number of home deliveries that are not registered by the authorities.
“Many mothers are giving birth at home and this is so much associated with the Ministry of Health “stay at home” protocol and curfews affect mothers seeking delivery in health facilities and also suspicion of contracting Covid-19 from contact records from registration agents especially those in health facilities,” Ms Mucheru said.