Nam Tackles Maternal and Child Mortality
Windhoek – Namibia has embarked on a programme to ensure quality reporting on maternal and child health issues in the country.
Programme for Accelerating the Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality in Namibia is a United Nations initiative, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the World Health Organisation.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), globally 287 000 women die every year, 99 percent in developing countries ‑ 85 percent of this in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
In addition, 980 mothers die every day, whereas 7.6 million children under five die every year ‑ 15 per minute ‑ more than 3 million of these are newborns aged less than 28 days.
The research also found that the major causes of maternal mortality are bleeding, hypertension in pregnancy, infection, obstructed labour and unsafe abortion. Additionally, child and newborn mortalities are caused by pre-natal complications (16.2 percent), pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, measles, malnutrition and HIV/AIDS.
It is important to realise that in Sub-Saharan Africa only seven countries are on track to achieve MDG4 compared to only two countries on track to achieve MDG5.
Looking at Namibia in particular, health facility delivery is 81.4 percent; contraceptive prevalence rate is 46 percent, as opposed to teenage pregnancy ‑ which is at 15.8 percent and as high as 34 percent in one region.
Dr Andemichael Ghirmay, WHO Country Representative, says, “Namibia needs to make family planning more accessible for adolescence in order to reduce unwanted pregnancies”.
The three main causes of high maternal and child deaths are delay at home, delay in accessing health facility and delay in receiving care at the health facility. All these could be avoided with increased transport (ambulances) provision to rural communities and improved communication systems.
“We need to make sure that the necessary services and health care is given to our people. We also have to work around communication and infrastructure to better the situation”, Dr Ghirmay added.
Mothers must also be educated to practise safe sex.
“We know the problem, we have the means and technology to deal with the problem and the media also has a role to play by giving the people the right information and keeping them in the know about the importance of maternal and child mortality in Namibia,” says Ghirmay.