High maternal deaths worry YWCA..


IT IS unacceptable for women to continue dying of pregnancy related complications, especially with Lusaka having the highest number of such deaths recorded, says Young Women Christian Association executive director Patricia Ndhlovu.

And girl right activist and songbird Daputa Nkhata called for increased access and awareness to adherence and consistency to antiretroviral therapy by pregnant women

Ms Ndhlovu said it was disheartening to learn of a high death rate among women in Lusaka where there were adequate health facilities including the country’s highest level hospital.

She said one death of a mother was bad enough but to be labeled “worst affected” with all the available facilities was shocking for Lusaka as the capital city.

“It is very disheartening to lean of the high death rate among expecting mothers not only in Lusaka but in the country, and there is need to address this issue immediately.

“The death of one mother is bad enough, and for Lusaka to be recording the highest maternal death rate is unacceptable because this is where we have the highest number of hospitals, clinics and other health facilities looking into the interest of our mothers in the country,” she said.

She said the Government must put in place effective strategies to address this situation which was resulting in the death of pregnant women as well as affecting these around these women including children left without a mother.

She said access and availability of healthcare services should not be an issue 50 years after independence, and that whatever was not going right should be made correct urgently and immediately for the sake of saving lives.

And Ms Nkhata, also known as Sister D, said there should be improvement in disseminating health awareness programmes for women especially those in antenatal care.

She said pregnant women must be made to understand the dos and don’ts of pre and postnatal care including the effects of lack of consistency in taking medication such as blood supplements, malaria prevention and ART treatment for those with HIV.

She explained that adherence to drug use especially for anti-malaria, and those on ART was essential for the survival of the women and their unborn babies.

“No child is born to die and no woman should die in child birth or due to pregnancy complications.

“As women, we usually pay attention to the health of others and forget to look after our own health. It is time we learnt to take care of ourselves and look after our own health with interest especially when we are pregnant,” she said.

She said women must be more concerned about their health first so that they can properly look after those around them, adding that “when a mother dies, so many people suffer as a result of her absence”.

Last week, Lusaka Province health officer Kennedy Malama revealed at a press briefing that Lusaka was grappling with the highest number of women dying from pregnancy related complications in the country with 185 in 2014, and 81 deaths so far recorded in 2015. Dr Malama attributed the deaths to women not attending antenatal care as well as lack of adherence to prenatal medication such as anti-malaria and ART for the prevention of mother to child treatment for HIV positive mothers.