Pretoria — The interventions implemented by the Gauteng Department of Health and Social Development has yielded positive results, with the province recording a decline in infant and maternal mortality.
According to a report tabled before the Gauteng Legislature's Portfolio Committee on Health and Social Development, preliminary data for 2008 - 2011 shows an improvement in maternal mortality rate from 166 deaths per 100 000 live births to 144 deaths per 100 000 live births.
Data for the first quarter of 2011 also indicate a decrease in prenatal mortality rate from 33.5 per 1 000 in 2010 to 28.7 per 1 000; neonatal deaths were also reduced from 11.7 per 100 to 10.5 per 100 in the same period.
"The reduction in maternal deaths indicates that the department is making encouraging progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals target of 100 deaths per 100 000 live births," said the department's MEC Ntombi Mekgwe.
Among the interventions implemented last year are improvements in neonatal units at Natalspruit, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic and Jubilee hospitals. The department also established Kangaroo mother care units in 23 of the 24 hospitals for the survival of premature babies.
The infection control at Dr George Mukhari Academic, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic, Natalspruit, Pholosong, Far East Rand and Sebokeng hospitals was also improved by installing waterless antibacterial hand wash dispensers in neonatal wards.
Mekgwe said that the number of mothers choosing caesarean operations to deliver babies had slightly increased from 27 percent to 28.7 percent in the last financial year.
She also noted that delivery by caesarean section is important in reducing the risk of infecting new born babies with HIV if mothers did not receive antiretroviral therapy.