6 May 2010

Mozambique: Pregnancy and Birth Complications Kill Eleven Women a Day

Maputo — At least 11 women die each day in Mozambique, due to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, this according to a new study published in Maputo on Wednesday by the Health Ministry (MISAU), during the launching ceremony of the National Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Mozambique.

The study also notes that 48 in every thousand children born alive die within the first 28 days of life due to problems arising during pregnancy and childbirth, including unassisted childbirths, which account for about 27 per cent of all deaths in children under five.

According to the study, 536,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth worldwide, i.e. 1,500 women a day, translated to one woman per minute.

Mozambican Health Minister Ivo Garrido said during the event that 99 percent of the deaths reported worldwide occur in developing countries, of which half in Africa.

As other developing countries, Mozambique is no exception said Garrido, explaining that three quarters of all maternal deaths in the country result from preventable causes, including haemorrhage, sepsis, prolonged labour, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and septic abortion.

The minister pointed to poverty, lack of educational, harmful cultural practices, poor communication and transport networks, as well as the gender imbalance as some of the factors contributing to these deaths.

However, Garrido asserted that the Mozambican government will continue to provide special services to Maternal and Child Health.

"Since Independence, the Government of Mozambique defined, among other population groups, women and children as two of the most vulnerable populations groups, hence creating special services for the provision of special care to the Maternal and Child Health," he stressed.

According to the Demographic and Health Survey (IDS 1997 and 2003), the rate of maternal mortality in Mozambique declined from 692 per 100,000 live births in 1997 to 408 in 2003.

In February 2008, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza launched Presidential Initiative for the Health of mothers and children to speed up the reduction in maternal and infant mortality and promote family health care.

This initiative also seeks to sensitize and invite all the social actors to become involved in promoting health care for these two population groups.

Speaking during the event, Mozambique's First Lady, Maria da Luz Guebuza, said that the Government and its cooperating partners face enormous challenges ahead, highlighting the area of promotion of women and children and improving the quality of care childbirth, which she considers as "essential factors for the reduction of maternal and perinatal mortality rates".

The First Lady, who is also the patron of the partnership, said that "our commitment is to continue to advocate for more investments in the health sector. We are committed to promoting the mother and child care as a means to reduce maternal, infant and neonatal mortality rates".

The National Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health includes the Ministries of Labour, Science and Technology, Women and Social Action, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

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