'10 maternal deaths recorded weekly'

HARARE - About 10 maternal deaths are recorded every week, with most occurring in hospitals and clinics, a Health ministry official said.

This is contrary to the common belief that the majority of maternal deaths happen during home deliveries.

In an interview with the Daily News, the ministry’s director of family health, Bernard Madzima, said the deaths were worrying considering that pregnant women are advised and encouraged to deliver their babies at healthcare institutions.

He, however, said the causes varied from arriving late at the institution to haemorrhaging, high blood pressure (HBP) and infections.

In 2015, the Health ministry reported that haemorrhaging accounted for 24,4 percent of maternal deaths while infections were 20 percent and HBP 14,6 percent.

“Maternal deaths occur anywhere between birth of a child to 42 days after delivery. Last year, of the 582 deaths that were recorded, 500 were in hospitals and clinics. There are three ways in which maternal mortality can rise, either at home on the way to the health institution or at the hospital or clinic,” Madzima said.

He said when a death is recorded, the ministry responds by going to the affected area and investigating the causes.

Madzima said when institutions like Harare Central Hospital suspend surgical operations, they do not include caesareans because giving birth is of priority.

The doctor said the ministry is ensuring that every district and provincial hospital is able to conduct caesareans through scrapping user fees.

“We have also secured a primary care package were life-saving commodities like blood, oxytocin, magnesium sulphate are available for safe delivery,” Madzima said.

Parliament’s Health portfolio committee chairperson Ruth Labode said there was need for more expecting mothers’ shelters to be built.

“Women walk distances of more than 50km to get assistance when they are pregnant. This may also increase the maternal mortality as they do not have trained personnel to assist them,” she said.

The 2015 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) showed that though there was a decline in maternal mortality, the Health ministry was far from its target of 326 deaths per 100 000 live births by 2020. Zimbabwe’s maternal mortality has declined to 651 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2015 from 960 in 2010.

ZDHS also reported that 78 percent of women had their babies delivered by skilled birth attendants, an increase from 66,2 percent in 2010.

The survey also noted that 75,7 percent of women were attending four or more antenatal care visits up from 64,8 percent from the 2010 survey.

Comments (5)

Not surprising at all.The health delivery system is not even in the intensive care unit but dead.This was demonstrated by Bona who gave birth in the safety of foreign clinics/hospitals.Mugabe himself doesn't have faith in his own country's health delivery system.

Gen. Spinola - 22 September 2016

Mugabe anotya kuroiwa!

Jonso - 22 September 2016

Zvavo vanaBona vanonozvarira Ku Singapore,, Nherera ndidzo dzinofa nekuti hadzina vekuchemera

matsotsi - 23 September 2016

We have to ensure that Mugabe and Parirenyatwa are removed from office in the coming elections. Otherwise, they will seek to extend the goblins rule and the ghosts that inhabit Pari will continue to draw blood. Mugabe must go. Make no mistake of it.

Fuck off Mugabe - 23 September 2016

If a child dies on birth do the parents get the report of what transpired? My daughter-in-law had a caesarean at Kwekwe Hospital and the child died. She had been in labour for 3 days and nothing was said, or were we supposed to ask someone, where?

Dhara 9 - 24 September 2016

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