In recent years, the implementation of several initiatives has led to a reduction in the mortality rate of newborns, infants & under-fives in Kenya. However, the neonatal mortality rate (NMR) has shown the slowest decline in the last 10 years. Neonatal infections are a leading cause of NMR, with sepsis contributing up to 20% of deaths. In line with the global targets, the 2014-30 Kenya Health Policy aims to reduce the NMR from 22 to 12 per 1000 live births by 2030.
However, to “End preventable deaths” and “Keeping every child alive,” further action is needed to ensure effective implementation of Integrated Management of Childhood Infections (IMCI). The World Health Organization (WHO) treatment for possible serious bacterial infections (PSBI) in young infants entails in-patient hospitalization and administration of multi-drug, multi-dose injectable antibiotics for at least 7-10 days. Yet, hospitalization is not always available, accessible or affordable to the sick young infants (see Box 1). Less than 30% of those referred can access hospital care.