Gender and Child Development Minister Inonge Wina has described the statistics of maternal mortality rate in Zambia as shockingly high due to bad practices in various communities in the country.
And Community Development Mother and Child Health Minister Emerine Kabanshi has observed that high poverty and illiteracy levels amongst women in Zambia have contributed highly to the escalating mortality rates which she described as shaming to talk about.
The two Ministers were speaking at the two-day Non Governmental Organization Coordinating Council’s (NGOCC) Sexual and Reproductive Health conference held in Lusaka.
The conference is being held under the theme, “Promoting Access to Gender Responsive Sexual and reproductive Health and Right.”
Delivering her key note address Ms. Wina denounced negative traditional practices such as sexual cleansing, initiation rites, female genital mutilation, early and forced marriages and polygamy which she said was retrogressive to the promotion of women rights in the country.
Ms. Wina stated that government is up-scaling the provision of health care to all citizens adding that issues of sexual and reproductive health have also been prioritized especially with the help of First Lady Christine Kaseba who has been advocating for the prevention and treatment of cervical cancer.
And her Community Development counterpart Emerine Kabanshi stated that the promotion of maternal health matter is very important because women
are the backbone of families.
Ms. Kabanshi stated that government is working on alleviating poverty thereby improving the health status of people especially women who are the most affected.
She stated that poverty and illiteracy levels amongst woman in the country are high hence the need for concerted efforts from both men and women in government and the private sector in addressing them.
She noted that it was a shame to talk about poverty and maternal mortality rate in conferences because they are too high to be disclosed.
Meanwhile, NGOCC Board Chairperson Beatrice Grillo stated that the conference is being held to review the national policy framework and develop an implementation plan on sexual and reproductive health and rights and create awareness in member organizations and other partners on the importance of including sexual reproductive health and rights in their activities.
Ms. Grillo added that the conference would also seek solutions to the
many challenges Zambia faces on sexual and reproductive health.