Zim maternal mortality rate: A cause for concern

HARARE - A wailing sound of a woman in pain rings in the ears of those in nearby rooms, closely followed by silence, and then a thinly first time cry from the newly-born baby follows suit.

For the crying woman, the delivery of a healthy bouncy baby turns into a big sigh of relief, particularly in a country where thousands of women die giving birth.

Maternal mortality rate in Zimbabwe still remains a problem with 960 out of 100 000 women dying during delivery.

Though there is a global initiative to fight the rate at which mothers die during childbirth, Zimbabwe lacks the resources to ensure all expecting mothers have access to adequate health care.

According to Millennium Development Goals four and five, child and maternal mortality rates should be reduced by two-thirds and three-quarters by 2015 respectively.

Zimbabwe seems still a long way to go such that the pain of giving birth has proved to be nothing compared to the joy that comes with a mother holding the baby in her arms.

But it is the drama that encompasses the last minutes of  pregnancy that are all telling and stories abound as the pregnant women wiggle, climb on the bed or cling to anything in sight — all to fight the last pain — the last kicks as the baby fights its way into the world.

It is interesting that all this drama might be over immediately after the woman delivers.

After delivery, for the woman, this is usually the happiest moment and a celebration of womanhood.

At one of the maternity wards in Harare, a woman sweats after coming from labour and proudly holds her baby in admiration.

But she is just the lucky one. Many others are paying the ultimate price because of Zimbabwe’s poor health delivery system. - Bridget Mananavire

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