Stories written by Susan Anyangu-Amu
Susan Anyangu-Amu is an advocacy communication and marketing officer for the Child Health Now Campaign, World Vision Kenya. Susan is a seasoned journalist who cut her niche writing about child and maternal health. She lives with her family in Nairobi, Kenya and aside from working in the advocacy development sector, still finds time to write on maternal and child health.

AFRICA: Customary Law Bars Women’s Access to Land

Regina Namukasa has been twice dispossessed – first when her husband died and his clan left her out when dividing up his estate, and again when she was denied a share in her father's land. But this time she's fighting back.

Progress in Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

The number of pregnant women being tested for HIV and accessing treatment in Sub-Saharan Africa has shown significant progress – indicating that virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of the virus by 2015 is possible.

Government hospital in Makeni, Sierra Leone: reaching women in rrual areas and poor households is key to continued progress. Credit:  Nancy Paulus/IRIN

WHO – Maternal Deaths Fall

The number of women dying from pregnancy related causes around the world is falling. Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the most dangerous place for pregnant women, despite recording a 26 percent reduction in maternal mortality rates.

A busy clinic in Malawi Credit:  Claire Ngozo/IPS

Financing Public Health in Africa

Campaigners for increased health financing welcome the commitment by African Union member states to direct more resources to health. But the needs of the continent seem to dwarf available budgets.

TB patient in a Kenyan hospital. Credit:  Siegfried/IRIN

KENYA: TB Patients Held in Prison

When a doctor instructs a patient to take one tablet three times a day, she often has no way to ensure the instructions are followed.

Fistula: Marker of Gender Inequality

Though it is relatively easy to prevent, obstetric fistula continues to have devastating effects on the lives of millions of women globally. A regional policy document has been developed to address the root causes of fistula in East, Central and Southern Africa.

A young girl from Kenya's North Eastern Province. It is a province where a high level of apathy towards girls

AFRICA: Stronger Will Needed from Governments to Save Poorest Children

"Herding goats is tough with the thirst, sun, loneliness and hunger each day. And it can last forever. You herd as a girl, then as a wife, as a pregnant woman, as a mother and even as a grandmother," says Rukia Ibrahim whose 13-year-old younger sister was married off to a herdsman.

Ayub Alulu entertains the crowd after young initiates were circumcised in Kakamega in Kenya

HEALTH-KENYA: Attempts to Modernise Traditional Circumcision Rites

During every year that ends in an even number, the month of August is a special occasion for young men in Kenya’s Western Province. During this month thousands of boys aged between 10 and 18 undergo male circumcision – something that is seen as an important rite of passage into manhood among their communities. But it is also a time were nearly half the young men circumcised will have to fight for their lives.

AFRICA: Maputo Protocol a Work in Progress

Kenyans are still euphoric over the referendum endorsing a progressive new constitution; but the heat generated by its opponents around their main rallying point - abortion rights - is a reminder of the wide gap between law and implementation in Africa, particularly when it concerns women's rights.

KENYA: Poor Women Beset On All Sides By Violence

"My daughter had repeatedly tried to describe to me what her step-father would do to her when I was not home," says Wanza*, a 28-year-old mother resident of Nairobi's Mathare slum. "On this particular night I pretended to be asleep and watched as he left our bed and went for my eight-year-old daughter."

KENYA: Medical Smart Card Extended to Maternal Care

Kenyans can now save towards the cost of childbirth at the country's largest maternal hospital thanks to a medical smart card system.

AFRICA: Shortage of Skills for Reproductive Health

Dr Geoffrey Kasembeli says he worked almost seven years without a day off: that's how severe the shortage of obstetricians and gynaecologists in Kenya is. A similar situation prevails across the continent, a symptom of the weakness of reproductive health care in Africa.

KENYA: New Constitution a Winner With Women

A day after Kenyans voted to accept a new constitution, women across the country speak about their hopes and expectations.

The case of Elizabeth Chazima could stand for the story of millions of women in Kenya who have been robbed of their financial contributions to matrimonial assets.

KENYA: Resounding Yes to New Constitution

Jubilant supporters say it is a new dawn for Kenya. Sixty-seven percent of votes cast endorsed a new constitution more than two decades after reform was first raised.

KENYA: Misoprostol Can’t Shake Bad Reputation

Precious Nabwire nearly died giving birth to her fourth child. If Kenyan gynaecologists have their way, a drug to control bleeding after childbirth will be licensed, offering greater protection to tens of thousands of women facing similar danger.

KENYA: Herbal Contraceptives Under the Radar

An arrow points the way from a busy street along a rough pathway; visitors clutch their bags more closely. The door is open: sachets are displayed on the table with labels indicating treatment for ulcers, diabetes, hypertension, fibroids. But not the contraceptive pill IPS is looking for.

Kenyan maternity clinic: less than half of births take place in facilities like these. Credit:  Kenneth Odiwuor/IRIN

KENYA: Jury Still Out on Traditional Birth Attendants

The government of Kenya has been encouraging women to deliver in hospital. Home deliveries by traditional birth attendants are considered to be a major contributor to maternal deaths.

An estimated 6 percent of pregnant women in Kenya are HIV-positive; administrative rivalries have hurt effective use of donor funds for treatment. Credit:  Kenneth Odiwuor/IRIN

HEALTH-KENYA: Funding Threatens AIDS Prevention

Pregnant mothers who are HIV-positive could soon find it challenging to access life-saving HIV drugs because Kenya was denied 270 million dollars in funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

KENYA: Construction of Dam Will Devastate Local Communities

Gideon Lepalo describes growing up in Loiyangalani, 20 kilometres from Lake Turkana, as magical. However, he fears the building of Gilgel Gibe III dam in Ethiopia, upstream of the Omo River, will soon mean that his childhood memories of the lake will be exactly that - memories.

DEVELOPMENT-KENYA: Rapid Population Growth Threatens Development

Margaret Atieno, a 38-year-old mother of six, says she wanted to avoid her last pregnancy. But consistent stock-outs of contraceptive devices at her health care centre in rural Siaya, western Kenya, gave her no choice but to fall pregnant once again, albeit the fact that she did not want another child.

KENYA: Proposed Constitutional Amendment Sets Back Women’s Rights

Lillian Mutuku, a 34-year-old mother of three, describes her home in Katine area, in Kenya’s Eastern province Tala, as a harsh place to live. The soil is poor, she says, the sun beats down mercilessly and vegetation is sparse.

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