Ruth Maithya, a lecturer at Nairobi's Amref International University, was a practicing midwife for three years and now teaches reproductive and maternal education to students fresh from high-school, as well as qualified nurses.

NAIROBI — The World Health Organization recommends having 23 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 10,000 people, but Kenya averages 13. The lack of staff is a contributing factor to the 6,000-8,000 mothers who die in childbirth in the country each year; when resources are stretched, the quality of care wanes and the likelihood of complications — such as postpartum hemorrhage, sepsis, and eclampsia — rises. As per the Sustainable Development Goals, the aim is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Since the government of Kenya made maternal care free in 2013, resources have been further under strain and systems overburdened, said Ruben Vellenga, Sustainable Development Goals partnership specialist at the United Nations resident coordinator's office in Kenya.

The eradication of cost has increased the amount of women coming through the doors, but the staffing and quality of care has yet to match the demand for maternal care.

Continue reading the full multimedia feature story on digital solutions improving the quality of maternal health care in Kenya.

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The Maternity Matters series is sponsored by MSD for Mothers, MSD’s $500 million initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die giving life. The content of this article is the responsibility of the author(s) and does not necessarily represent the official views of MSD. MSD for Mothers is an initiative of Merck & Co., Inc. Kenilworth, N.J., U.S.A.

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