Maternal Death and Household Disruption: Evidence from Rural Kenya

Rohini P. Pande, Independent Consultant
Frank Odhiambo, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
Sheila Ogwang, KEMRI/CDC Research and Public Health Collaboration
Kayla Laserson, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Robinson Karuga, Family Care International
Kathleen Schaffer, Family Care International
Aslihan Kes, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

In most developing country rural households, young women hold a gamut of household and agricultural responsibilities. Thus, when a young woman dies in childbirth, the trauma of that death is compounded by the disruption to a household’s functioning her death creates. Yet, little research documents the nature and extent of such disruption and how households cope. To address this gap, we develop and test an innovative narrative approach, incorporated in a quantitative survey, to understand household structure and productivity. We combine this with group discussions with affected households to document and analyze how household dynamics, functioning and welfare change because of a maternal death, and how these changes are perceived by surviving adult household members. Our study contributes to ongoing policy advocacy for maternal mortality reduction, and offers a methodological contribution of a narrative approach embedded in a quantitative survey to assess changes in household dynamics following a maternal death.

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Presented in Session 88: Maternal, Infant, and Child Mortality in Developing Countries