'Maternal mortality high in teenagers'

HARARE - Maternal mortality in Zimbabwe is highest among teenagers and women aged between 40 and 44 years of age, a 2012 Census report unveiled this week has revealed.

According to Zimbabwe’s 2012 Census Mortality Thematic Report, out of 22 739 deaths of females aged between 15 to 49, 2 230 deaths or 9,8 percent were pregnancy-related.

The report also shows that close to 24 women out of every 1 000 were at risk of maternal death in their lifetime.

“The pattern of maternal mortality by age depicts high maternal mortality among teenagers (525 for those aged 15-19 years), declining to 401 among those aged 20-24 years and rising to 489 for females in the age group 25-29 years.

“It then further rises to 1 108 among women aged 40-44 years and to 2 367 among those aged 45-49 years,” the thematic report indicated.

According to the report, the United Nations in 2013 attributed about 39 percent of general maternal deaths to Aids-related causes.

The Census report also noted that HIV and Aids-related causes accounted for about 26 percent of all maternal deaths in Zimbabwe.

“The Zimbabwe Maternal and Perinatal Mortality Study of 2007 identified the leading direct causes of maternal mortality in Zimbabwe as post-partum haemorrhage, pregnancy induced hypertension and puerperal sepsis,” said the report.

Matabeleland South had the highest maternal mortality ratio in 2012 with 694 deaths while the lowest were recorded in Harare with 379.

The report also noted that women’s education levels were a contributing factor to a high or low child mortality.

The Census survey showed that in 2007, infant mortality rate was highest among children of uneducated mothers.

“Infant mortality of children born to mothers with a disability was 68 per 1 000 births compared to 49 for children of mothers without a disability.

“Likewise, under five mortality of children born to mothers with a disability was 107 per 1 000 children compared to 73 for children born to mothers without a disability,” reads part of the report.

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