-State ups safe motherhood campaign

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State ups safe motherhood campaign

Chipata, May 24, 2013, ZANIS……..Government has called for accelerated response towards reducing maternal mortality rates in the country.

Minister of Community Development Mother and Child Health Joseph Katema disclosed that despite the country recording a reduction in maternal mortality from 591 in 2007 to 470 per 100,000 live births, Zambia still has the highest maternal mortality rates in the whole world.

Speaking in Chipata today when he launched the national Safe Motherhood week, Dr Katema said insufficient progress has been made in reducing the number of maternal deaths in child birth in developing countries.

Dr. Katema said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) 1996 report estimates that there were nearly 600, 000 such deaths annually.

He said this meant that they were many other cases that were not captured hence resulted in a declaration of global commitment to reducing the number of maternal deaths by the year 2015 under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He noted that the move to celebrate the safe motherhood week in 2010 is a concrete manifestation of the commitment to achieving MDGs on Accelerated reduction on Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).

Dr. Katema further added that Obstetric Fistula has also been cited as one of the many causes of maternal deaths in Zambia .

He explained that due to the myths that are associated with the disease many women did not come out in open to access medical care.

The Minister added that it is for this reason that government came up with measures to create awareness among the communities, train staff in fistula prevention and repairs and also scale up treatment in all provincial hospitals throughout the country.

Dr. Katema further called on all stakeholders to play an active role and help government reduce maternal mortality through various interventions such as women empowerment, and birth control measures.

And United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Zambia Mission Director Susan Brems said eastern province is her organisations focus area for safe motherhood through the campaign to stop early marriages.

Dr. Brems expressed concern that eastern province had continued to record high cases of fistula which can be related to early marriages and adolescent pregnancies.

She disclosed that in Zambia half of the young women gave birth before they reached 19 years making them vulnerable to fistula.

Dr. Brems pleged her organisations support to initiatives aimed at improving maternal mortality and reproductive health among women.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) assistant representative Sibeso Mululuma said the agency had trained and reinforced over 500 health care providers to manage fistula cases and that over 1,634 women and girls had received fistula treatment.