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The 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey is the first national survey to provide data at the county level. This study uses these data to examine regional variation and socio-demographic inequities in maternal health indicators in 10 counties designated by USAID as high-priority areas for improvements in maternal health. Using data from 3,574 women with a birth in the past five years in high-priority counties, this study analyzes the prevalence and distributional patterns of fertility risk, distance to health facilities, antenatal care, delivery in a health facility, and postnatal care.
This study shows large variations in maternal health indicators across high-priority counties in Kenya. Nairobi exceeds the national average on all maternal health indicators in this study, while other high-priority counties consistently are disadvantaged compared with Kenya as a whole in most maternal health indicators. Kisumu exceeds the national average in use of antenatal care, delivery in a health facility, and postnatal care, but not other indicators. Nakuru has fewer women with fertility risk and fewer women who report that the distance they must travel to reach a health facility is a problem. Samburu and Baringo also have better than average use of antenatal care and postnatal care, respectively.
This study identifies a number of inequities in maternal health indicators across socio-demographic characteristics in the high-priority counties—most in the distribution of delivery care and least in antenatal care. Inequities are also observed in fertility risk and postnatal care. The most common disparities at the county level are by women’s education, wealth, and urban-rural residence. Turkana shows fewer disparities in maternal health indicators compared with Kilifi, Kisumu, and Kitui.