Save The Children International

County:  Bungoma

Project Title: Improving the Monitoring of Labour through the use of a Digital Partograph; Increasing access to quality care for preterm and low birth weight babies in Kenya through Kangaroo Mother Care

The partograph is a paper record of key maternal and fetal data during labour. Key measurements, including cervical dilation, fetal heart rate, duration of labour and vital signs are recorded on the partograph in graph format. In this way, the progress of labour is monitored so that any delay or abnormality can be detected and treated. To be useful, the partograph must be correctly and consistently filled in, but in understaffed facilities, this may not happen. In Bungoma, Save the Children found that less than 30 percent of the healthcare facilities used the paper partograph. This is the challenge they seek to resolve.

The project will introduce digital partographs to 15 facilities in Bungoma County and train healthcare workers on its use. The digital partograph will allow the user to enter data more efficiently. The data will automatically be translated into a graph. The digital partograph’s alert system will be triggered by readings outside the normal range for each client.

The digital partograph will improve early identification and management of complications, leading to a reduction in maternal and newborn deaths.

In addition, Save the Children will increase access to quality healthcare for babies born prematurely through its Kangaroo Mother Care project. Premature birth causes 35% of all newborn deaths in Kenya. Low birth weight babies face similar challenges to preterm babies, including hypothermia, hypoglycaemia and an increased risk of infections. 11% of babies in Kenya are born with a weight below the optimum 2500gm.

Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is continuous, prolonged, early skin to skin contact between a baby and mother, or other adult, for at least 18 hours/day. It provides an affordable alternative to incubator care. It provides warmth, promotes exclusive breastfeeding, and reduces infections caused by sharing of incubators. KMC increases the mother’s confidence, empowers her to take care of a small baby and improves bonding. For the baby, KMC improves cardiac and respiratory stability, gastrointestinal function, and weight gain by lowering energy expenditure, thermoregulation and reduced stress. KMC reduces the length of hospital stays and the demand for nursing staff, which reduces costs.

Save the Children’s project will increase access to and utilisation of quality KMC services by:

  • Supporting the Ministry of Health to finalise and disseminate the national KMC clinical guidelines
  • Increasing availability of quality KMC services in Bungoma County
  • Raising the profile of KMC in Kenya through the use of mass media

The projects will be implemented by Save the Children in collaboration with Bungoma Ministry of Health and BBC Media Action.