—–Chief Mphuka of the Chikunda people of Luangwa district has commended the Department of Child Health in the area for scoring zero per cent of maternal deaths in the year 2013 and has warned his subjects that he will not take kindly of any parent encouraging early marriages as these were among the causes of maternal deaths.
Chief Mphuka said this during a Maternal Death Review meeting held in the Luangwa District Commissioner’s conference room on Wednesday that he was impressed with the work culture of the health personal in the district which has resulted into a zero per cent maternal death record in the district.
He said people in his chiefdom who want to use the customary law to marry off their daughters who are below the age of 18 will be dealt with according to his rule and not on customary law of which some clauses and beliefs are outdated.
Chief Mphuka said he will not allow any of his subjects to die during birth due to negligence of the husband or guardian when Government has put in place all safety measures to reduce maternal deaths in health facilities.
He said early marriages were among the causes of maternal deaths as some parents marry off their children who are below age and want to use the old custom that if a girl child reaches puberty then she is fit for marriage.
Chief Mphuka commended the health staff in the district for working tirelessly in reducing maternal deaths, adding that if all health workers in the country would know that their job was noble and a calling then Government will achieve in its quest of reducing maternal deaths in the country.
And Luangwa District Maternal Neonatal Child Health Coordinator, Victoria Nkomshya Ndhlovu, appreciated the support the department was receiving from the traditional leaders in the area.
Mrs Ndhlovu said the district only recorded one maternal death which came from neighbouring Zumbo District in Mozambique and also commended the district health staff for their attitude towards the reduction of maternal deaths in the area.
Meanwhile, health staff have appealed to the district administration to engage in dialogue with the neighbouring countries of Mozambique and Zimbabwe on matters of health as most of their people come to Luangwa for medical attention.
Luangwa Boma Health Centre In-Charge, Ruth Musonda, told members of the Maternal Death Review Committee that they were facing a lot of challenges with patients from neighbouring countries where they receive some cases which are critical because of delaying in bringing them to the health centre.
Mrs Musonda said some patients from these two neighbouring districts were not even escorted by the health personal hence making it difficult to screen them as they do not come with any record.
She appealed to the district administration to engage in dialogue with their colleagues in the neighbouring districts so that they are able to discuss on issues of health.