Maternal deaths soar

HARARE - At least 67 women died while giving birth in the first 10 weeks of 2016, statistics released by the Health ministry reveal.

According to the statistics at least a woman dies daily while giving birth with observers saying the number could be higher since some cases are never reported.

Although pregnancy is not a disease, it is associated with risks before, during and immediately after birth which if not taken care of can result in maternal death, health experts said.

According to the Health ministry weekly report on epidemic, prone diseases, deaths and public health events, pregnancy complications was the number two killer of all the diseases compiled.

The number one killer disease was malaria with a total of 85 deaths from 59 409 cases  in the first 10 weeks, common diarrhoea had  95 266 cases and 65 deaths, while dysentery  had cumulative cases of 10 462 and 21 deaths.

Typhoid, has so far killed one person, with more cases being recorded in Harare.

Despite a decreasing rate in maternal mortality, Zimbabwe still remains one of the countries with the highest incidences.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) attributed the high maternal mortality  rate to  delays in seeking health care, delays in reaching a health facility; and delays in receiving expeditious and effective care at the health facility.

“Social Determinants of Health which include poor public transport system, and clarity on application of user fees. Although it is government policy not to charge user fees for maternity services, some facilities still charge some indirect service fees,”  WHO said in a statement.

Some of the reasons that lead to high mortality among pregnant women according to WHO include, “religious and traditional objectors to modern medicine, for instance refusal to seek care at the health facilities, refusal of blood transfusion, refusal of modern medicines or surgical procedures, and use of traditional uterine contracting medicines to quicken labour”.

Zimbabwe’s maternal death rate currently stands at 614 per 100 000 live births, according to the 2014 United Nations Children’s Fund statistics.

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