Home Institution

The George Washington University

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

Kenya: Urbanization, Health, and Human Rights


This study focuses on the 2017 nurses’ strike and how the crippling of the public health system impacted maternal care in Kisumu, Kenya. Kenya has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world, and there have been many efforts to reduce this, such as delivery with a Skilled Birth Attendant and attending antenatal care visits, all of which are centered around a functioning health system. The research team used a combination of interviews with key populations and analysis of service delivery data at local health centers to evaluate the effects of the strike on maternal care. The study concludes that the public nurses’ strike negatively affected maternal care, forcing many women to undertake a significant financial burden for delivery services at private health facilities. Because these finances are not always readily available to some women, it is likely that at-home births without a Skilled Birth Attendant increased during this time, as the private facility assessed during this study reported turning women away who could not pay for services. The Kenyan government must make investments to strengthen the health system to prevent strikes in the future and improve maternal health.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Family Medicine | Health Policy | Labor Relations | Maternal and Child Health | Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing | Medicine and Health | Nursing | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Pediatrics | Public Health