All women are at risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery. Most complications cannot be predicted and therefore all pregnant women should be prepared to respond appropriately when complications arise. Such advance preparations can help prevent life threatening delays in recognizing and responding to complications.
According to Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) 2003, majority of women (60%) still deliver at home where skilled care is not available and if a complication arise it may be disastrous.
Emphasis on emergency preparedness during antenatal care is a cost effective intervention, which can thus reduce maternal deaths and morbidity by avoiding delays at decision making and transport to health facilities in the event of obstetric emergencies.
Objective: To evaluate emergency preparedness among antenatal care clients at Kenyatta National Hospital.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study done at the antenatal care clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital. A total of 394 women attending antenatal care at Kenyatta National hospital were interviewed using a pre-tested questionnaire between May 2006 and August 2006. Clients who were above 32 weeks gestation and had attended the clinic more than twice were recruited. Systematic sampling was used to select the study participants with every third client being interviewed.
Results: The mean age of the respondents was 28.4 years with a range of 18-42 years. All the respondents had formal education, 91.7% were married and 41.1% were employed. Over 60% of the respondents were informed by health workers about danger signs in pregnancy. A third of the respondents knew at least one danger sign in pregnancy while only 6.9% knew of three or more danger signs. Only 62.9% of the respondents had funds set aside for emergency purposes. 10.9& of the respondents did not have a clear plan of what to do incase of an obstetric emergency. Level of education positively influenced knowledge of danger signs.
Education and counseling on danger signs was not provided to all clients. Respondents’ knowledge of danger signs in pregnancy was low. Most respondents did not have plans for emergencies.